Leicester City's Jamie Vardy was once on Burnley boss Sean Dyche's radar

Jamie Vardy scores for Leicester City against Newcastle United at the King Power Stadium
Jamie Vardy scores for Leicester City against Newcastle United at the King Power Stadium

England and Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy was on Burnley boss Sean Dyche's radar in the months leading up to his appointment at Turf Moor.

Addressing the media ahead of Saturday's trip to the King Power Stadium, the 48-year-old revealed that the former Fleetwood Town forward had peaked his interest just before his departure from Vicarage Road.

Burnley's Ashley Barnes and Everton's Fabian Delph at Turf Moor

Burnley's Ashley Barnes and Everton's Fabian Delph at Turf Moor

Dyche, then Watford manager, had been plotting for the summer ahead, and Vardy, with 34 goals in the Blue Square Premier, fit the bill having outscored the entire Hornets frontline combined during the 2011/12 campaign.

His goals, adding to the 19 netted by Andy Mangan, engineered a 29-game unbeaten run for the Cod Army as the club was promoted to the Football League for the first time.

In the end it was then Foxes chief, Nigel Pearson, who won the race for Vardy as they splashed out £1m for his signature.

“We were in for him, but we were in for him for about £2.50," quipped Dyche. "We offered £2.97 and some bibs and some balls at the time.

“We were distantly in for him, we never got near, not ever, ever close. We were one of a number of clubs who thought we really like him, but it was a very quick no.

"It was a lot of money, I think Nigel Pearson paid £1million for him out of non league, but the risk has paid off 10 fold or however many fold.”

Vardy, who began his senior career at Stocksbridge Park Steels in the Northern Premier League Division One South after being released by Sheffield Wednesday as a teenager, went on to score 25 goals in his debut season for Halifax Town.

He then won Fleetwood Town's Player of the Year award before being rewarded with his big move.

“We saw in him then what you see now - pace, movement, an eye for goal and a hardiness," said Dyche. "Barnsey has that hardiness.

“Same sort of things, he’s obviously polished them a bit more. But movement, pace and that will to score a goal. You can almost sense it from him. Great qualities to have.

“You see signs with players, things you think can lead somewhere. But they don’t always do. For the Jamie Vardy story, imagine how many stories there are of he’s the next version of, and then is nowhere near.

“Jamie Vardy had strong signs, but you couldn’t say then he would do everything he has. He has polished up accordingly. Nigel worked with him and managed to start the process.”

Dyche's first cash signing has had a similarly meteoric rise from the lower leagues. Ashley Barnes, who will be assessed for a tight groin ahead of kick off, started out at Paulton Rovers in the Southern Football League.

After signing for Plymouth Argyle he had loan spells at Oxford United, Salisbury City, Eastbourne Borough and Torquay United before getting his break with Brighton.

Now he's made more Premier League appearances and scored more Premier League goals than anybody in Burnley's history.

Dyche said: “I think that story is getting more difficult. It’s still there and there is a time and a place where that still happens, but it’s getting tougher because the elite level of football is so high now.

“They’re both fine players in different ways. Vardy for what he’s done and continues to do.

“He’s had his fair share of things which haven’t gone his way, but he keeps earning the right to make it go his way.

“Barnesy is the same and they continually earn the right to push their careers. I think that’s a brilliant thing for anyone to look at.

“Certainly if I were a non-league player, I’d be looking at them and thinking it can be done because those two are living proof and continue to be as well."