Jamie Vardy: Leicester striker launches non-league academy

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Leicester's Jamie Vardy - I've done it the hard way

Leicester striker Jamie Vardy is launching a new academy to seek the next stars of non-league football.

Vardy, 28, was at Fleetwood in 2012 when they were a non-league side but is now the Premier League's top scorer and has netted in 11 consecutive games.

The aim of Vardy's 'V9 Academy' is to discover hidden talent and stop players drifting away from the game.

"I know there are players out there in a similar position to where I was that just need an opportunity," he said.

"More and more players are dropping out of the system early.

"For me, it was at Sheffield Wednesday when I was 16 because they thought I was too small. I remember how that felt and it's difficult to come back from or even think about the professional game."

The former Stocksbridge Park Steels and Halifax forward, whose goals have helped Leicester to the top of the Premier League, told BBC Football Focus: "I want to give people the shot I was given because there are some talented players in non-league.

"There are a lot of teams which won't take the gamble and probably will rather pay over the odds to get a player who has the experience but they might not do it either.

"With teams taking a risk on non-league players it will only benefit the game and make the English game altogether a lot better."

Vardy, who became non-league football's first £1m player when he joined Leicester from Fleetwood three years ago, is now an England international and set a new Premier League record as he scored for an 11th straight game against Manchester United on Saturday.

He will accept applications for his academy in May 2016 and, after a selection process, 60 non-league players will be given the chance on a week-long course in summer 2017.

You can watch the full Jamie Vardy interview on Football Focus on Saturday 28 November, 11:30 GMT on BBC One and the BBC Sport website.

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