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Role model Vardy helping future non-league stars

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Jamie Vardy truly is living the dream. Following his release from Sheffield Wednesday at the age of just sixteen, the Yorkshireman found himself having to start again at the bottom as part of Stocksbridge Park Steels youth set-up. Back then, it would be safe to assume that beating Ruud van Nistelrooy's Premier League goal-scoring record – that had already stood for eight years at the time – must have felt a long way off.

Impressing for the Steelers, as well as Halifax Town and Fleetwood, 2012 saw Vardy become the first non-league player to command a price tag of £1m when he caught the eye of Nigel Pearson at Championship side Leicester City – but even then, it was hard going.

A dip in form – entirely understandable when you consider that he had just leapt five flights in class over the course of just two seasons – saw certain sections of the Foxes' faithful turn against Vardy. But then 16 league goals the following year helped to turn the tide of opinion as Leicester were promoted to the Premier League.

VardyNow having scored in eleven consecutive top-flight games and earned himself four England caps, Vardy is hoping to give a little back to lower level football by throwing his weight behind a new training centred – dubbed “the V9 Academy” – that will hand-pick 60 leading non-league players each year, and provide them with the training, advice and individual training plans that will help them make it to the next level.

He is now looking to make it twelve games in a row against struggling Swansea on Saturday, and has been nailed-on to finish the season as the league's top goal-scorer by a number of firms – but with so many online bookies offering different deals and odds at the moment, how can you be sure that you are getting the most bang for your buck?

Well, you can calculate the betting odds here, by taking advantage of the new 'Odds Checker' feature from bookies.com, which means that you can easily compare what the best return on your stake might be, were it laid with a wide range of leading firms.

And as an additional bonus, their easy-to-use Best Returns Calculator clearly and accurately shows you exactly what you stand to win from each stake across a wide range of varying, which means that as well as getting the absolute best value for money, you can be more in control of your predictions across any number of scenarios.

With so much media interest around Leicester's No. 9 at the moment it's no surprise that more and more people are sitting up and taking notice of non-league football. But right now, and perhaps until we start to see the rewards of his new academy, there's only one Jamie Vardy – much to the relief of Swansea and their beleaguered manager Garry Monk.

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