May 20, 2024

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Vardy’s Timely Return Helps Leicester Beat Burnley

Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers said having Jamie Vardy back gives his side “a huge boost” after the striker made a goal-scoring return from injury at Burnley to give the Foxes their first league win of 2022.

The 35-year-old forward was introduced from the bench for his first appearance of the year and played a huge role in earning his side all three points by setting up James Maddison for the opener before settling the game with a close-range header.

It was his 10th Premier League goal of the season, but his first since late November and gave his boss hope that they can finish the season strongly after a run of five matches without a win in the striker’s absence.

“We knew we had James [Maddison] and Jamie’s quality to come on,” Rodgers told BBC Sport. “James scored a brilliant goal and then you could see the confidence from it. Then Vardy was there and did what Vardy does best.

“He is a real catalyst for the team. You see his energy. He makes runs and presses and is normally in the right areas to score. He is a huge boost for us. To have that quality and mentality back in the team will help us.

“We have to stay focused on the football and not look too far ahead. Stay calm, play our football and keep focused and then we came here and got a result.

“A long way to go in the season. We want to go far as we can in the European competition and see where we are at the end of the season.”

Vardy has been absent with a hamstring injury since the 1-0 win at Liverpool – the last time the Foxes had won before the trip to Turf Moor.

“It has been a long nine weeks resting and then four weeks getting the muscles back up,” Vardy said. “The main thing was to get back on and put a performance in.

“You always want to come on but you always have to listen to the medical team as well and I’ve been back in training just the last four days. Getting 20 minutes it is good for myself there is no more issues.

“I don’t think you can lose that [scoring touch]. It is instinct.” It had been a largely even game before Maddison’s opener, although the Foxes did fashion the greater number of chances, finding home keeper Nick Pope in fine form. The Clarets had the ball in the net in the first half, but Maxwel Cornet was adjudged to have moved a fraction early to tap in Aaron Lennon’s low cross.

The win takes the Foxes to 30 points and allows them to breathe more easily after a poor recent run of league results. There is no respite for Sean Dyche’s side, who have seen their recent crucial revival checked and stay in the bottom three, a point behind 17th-placed Everton.