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Vardy hot streak provides stark contrast to Rooney form

It is quite understandable that Jamie Vardy is all the rage at the moment. The Leicester City striker is on the verge of Premier League history, needing to find the net against Manchester United on Saturday to become the first player ever to score in 11 successive matches.

That his day of reckoning should come against the 20-time English champion is fitting for more than one reason. Not only is he looking to usurp the record held by former United hot-shot Ruud van Nistelrooy, but he is also arguably a candidate to replace the Red Devils’ captain Wayne Rooney as a starting player for England.

While Rooney obviously has a great deal of credit stocked up by way of his 13-year top-flight career, which has included 305 senior goals, Vardy is most definitely the man in form. In the time it has taken the England skipper to score two league goals so far in 2015-16, the Foxes’ front man has found the net 13 times.

Over at the King Power Stadium, Leicester has been the antithesis of United. The league leader has the best attack in the league and one of the worst defenses, making for far more free-flowing fixtures. And in Vardy the Foxes have the story of the season.

The last time Rooney hit the kind of form Vardy is currently enjoying, Vardy was still playing in the National Conference for Fleetwood Town. Since rising up to the Premier League with Leicester, he has caught a few eyes, yet it is fair to say his current form has come as a huge surprise to many.

Beyond all the plaudits, Vardy has also earned four England caps off the back of his goals, yet he is still to be given a start by Roy Hodgson. But should he continue to find the back of the net regularly into the spring then there is every chance that Rooney’s position with the national side could be thrown into question.

Rooney has been the personification of United going forward this season. Louis van Gaal might have made the team a more solid outfit defensively but it has become one-dimensional and predictable in attack as a by-product. United has scored just six goals more than Vardy to this point, and only four clubs (Stoke, Sunderland, Newcastle and West Brom) have registered fewer shots at goal.

For Rooney’s part, his lack of form has resulted in vociferous calls for him to be dropped. Van Gaal has constantly insisted that his skipper will be allowed more time to play his way into form, but even the Dutchman must be reconsidering at this point.

Not only is Vardy scoring more regularly, he is asking more questions of defenses in all respects. He has attempted almost two-and-a-half times as many shots as Rooney this campaign and boasts a higher success rate in terms of both hitting the target and finding the back of the net. His more energetic, penetrative approach is proving a big hit in the Premier League while Rooney’s reduced pace and rapidly retreating position is doing neither himself nor United too many favors.

One of them has scored one breakaway goal and collected another from a ball slamming off his knee this season. The other is in the form of his life. Rooney will be hoping to buck the trend in order to restore himself as England’s number-one striker.