Jamie Vardy double secures Championship title for Leicester amid uncertainty over future

Leicester celebrate
Leicester win the Championship title at Deepdale - Nick Potts/PA Wire

The future of Jamie Vardy hangs very much in the balance with newly-promoted Leicester City but, if these were his last two goals after a dozen years with the club, they at least guaranteed the significant reward of the Championship title.

Ten years on from scoring 16 times in helping the Foxes reach the Premier League, the former England striker made it 18 for this campaign as he returned them whence they came.

If this is the end of one of the most enduring, and successful, working relationships of the Premier League era, it is as good a way as any for the parties to split.

Perhaps predictably, given that Leicester’s fate had been determined some 72 hours earlier, there was little urgency from either side in the opening exchanges.

Jamie Vardy
Jamie Vardy's 17th and 18th Championship goals this season secure the title with a game to spare - Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Yunus Akgun played a neat through ball for Vardy on 15 minutes with home keeper Freddie Woodman alert to the danger and cutting off angles well.

And the only real energy on evidence at Deepdale was provided by the 5,700 travelling fans massed behind one of the goals. The three-day party that has presumably raged in Leicestershire since Leeds’ shock defeat at QPR on Friday shows no signs of abating.

They barely missed a beat, or altered their repertoire, even when Kasey McAteer created space on the edge of the Preston area after 20 minutes and produced a shot which Woodman gathered comfortably.

Leicester City chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha celebrates securing the Championship title
Leicester City chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha pasy tribute to his late father after winning the Championship title at Deepdale - Nick Potts/PA Wire

McAteer missed the best chance, yet, nine minutes later, rising at the far-post to meet Abdul Fatawa’s perfect cross but heading well over the home goal.

But finally, and inevitably, it was Vardy who finally allowed those fans to ratchet up the decibels a level when he shot their team into a 38th-minute lead, at the end of a sharp passing move in the area involving Fatawu and Akgun.

Vardy had time, back to goal, to swivel and produce a shot which bobbled into the bottom corner of the Preston goal. Should he return to the Premier League next season, it is doubtful he will benefit from such poor marking at that level.

Preston looked finished, for the night and the season, but Vardy most certainly was not.

On 52 minutes, Wout Fees marauded upfield unhindered, unleashed a terrific shot which struck the post and Woodman’s head before rebounding to the unmarked Vardy who lashed it into the goal in front of his adoring fans with quite obvious glee.

Vardy was denied what would have been his first hat-trick in nearly four years on 65 minutes, by Woodman’s diving save, but McAteer gave the keeper no chance when he headed in Fatawu’s chipped cross two minutes later and Fatawu struck the post in what was fast becoming a rout.

Broaden your horizons with award-winning British journalism. Try The Telegraph free for 3 months with unlimited access to our award-winning website, exclusive app, money-saving offers and more.