English Premiership

Vardy pens new Leicester contract

Jamie Vardy (AP)
Jamie Vardy (AP)

London - Leicester City capped a memorable day on Saturday by announcing that star striker Jamie Vardy has extended his contract by one year until June 2019.

"I'm absolutely delighted to be fighting to achieve something special with this club," Vardy said in comments published on the club website.

"I've never known a spirit like it - from the owners, to the manager and his staff, the players and the fans. I want to be part of it for a long time."

Vardy, 29, played a key role as Leicester stunned Manchester City 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium earlier on Saturday to open up a five-point lead at the top of the Premier League table.

Along with Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez, the indefatigable Vardy has become a symbol of Leicester's rise from the foot of the table to the summit over the past 12 months.

Signed from non-league Fleetwood Town for $1.4 million in 2012, he is the Premier League's top scorer with 18 goals and has become a regular member of Roy Hodgson's England squad.

Vardy added: "Leicester City have shown nothing but total faith in me since the day I arrived here three and a half years ago and it's impossible to measure how much that belief has helped me to improve.

"I'll forever be grateful for the investment the club has made in me and I'll spend every day working to repay it."

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri said: "Jamie is a fighter. He has had an unbelievable journey to get to this point in his career and continues to play every game as if it's his last.

"I love his spirit, which is a quality I want in my players above all else. He has shown what a fantastic player he is and, more importantly, he is part of a fantastic group.

"I am very happy that he will stay with us for a long time."

Vardy scored 16 goals as Leicester were promoted as Championship champions in 2014 and found the net five times in his first season as a top-flight player.

It was enough to earn him international recognition and he made his England debut in a goalless friendly against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin in June 2015. He has since won three further caps.

An ignominious build-up to the current campaign saw Vardy forced to issue an apology after being caught on camera abusively calling a man of east Asian appearance 'Jap' in a casino.

But on the pitch he has been a revelation and in November he set a new Premier League record by scoring for the 11th game running in a 1-1 draw with Manchester United.