Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers believes Jamie Vardy could still walk into any team in the Premier League after his brace in a 3-0 win at West Brom.
The striker’s two penalties and Timothy Castagne’s debut goal saw the Foxes stroll to victory at The Hawthorns.
Vardy scored 23 times last season to win the Premier League’s Golden Boot and his two goals took him to 105 top-flight goals, one above former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba in the all-time scoring charts.
He turns 34 in January but Rodgers knows Vardy remains one of the best.
“There are many top strikers at this level but any team would want someone like him in there,” Rodgers said.
“He’s super cool, clinical and has still got pace and running ability. In that situation to put us two up he showed great composure. It’s a great start for him to score two goals and very good for the team.
“It’s not a big surprise with top quality players, it doesn’t matter what they’ve done, doesn’t matter how much they earn, they want to be the best they can be. He trains and works intensely and he is a natural goalscorer – he is still quick, I suspect he will have another great season.”
Sam Johnstone denied Harvey Barnes and Vardy while Matheus Pereira saw a low effort saved by Kasper Schmeichel in the first half. But a low-key game sparked into life after 56 minutes as Leicester grabbed the opener to take control.
Castagne headed in a surprise debut goal, having joined from Atalanta in the summer, when he beat Kieran Gibbs to Dennis Praet’s cross.
Rodgers added: “He defended well, attacked and it was great to get a goal. He’s a player I’ve known for a number of years, he will run all day and looks to get in the box. I’m delighted for him and it was a really good debut.”
There was no way back for Albion and they self-destructed by giving away two penalties in the final 16 minutes.
First, Kyle Bartley pulled Vardy back for the striker to convert and then Dara O’Shea felled James Justin to allow Vardy to score his second from the spot.
For Albion, back in the Premier League after two years, it was a reminder of exactly what they face if they want to survive.
Boss Slaven Bilic, who expects to complete the signing of Branislav Ivanovic on Monday, said: “I was really pleased with the way we played up until their goal.
“I told the guys I was very disappointed with the results but the thing I was most disappointed with was our reaction after the goal.
“They were a bit sharper for the third goal, the penalty, all of it looks stoppable. Apart from the first goal it was a good performance with and without the ball, as a team.
“I’m very disappointed with the result but the biggest disappointment was our reaction after the goal. Our mentality was not the same.”
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.