Patson Daka models his game on the ‘inspirational’ Jamie Vardy and left Gary Lineker purring over his four-goal display against Spartak Moscow… Leicester’s new striker can help ease the workload on the Foxes’ talisman
- Patson Daka has won admiration from two of Leicester’s finest strikers ever
- Gary Lineker and Jamie Vardy both hailed the striker after hitting four goals
- Daka, 23, models his game on Vardy and can help ease the veteran’s workload
- The Zambian is already popular in the dressing room and could have a big impact
Patson Daka has played only seven games for Leicester but he has already won the admiration of perhaps the two finest forwards in the club’s history.
He and Jamie Vardy have struck up a close relationship, with Daka modelling his game on Vardy’s long before he arrived at Leicester, and the 34-year-old passing on tips about delivering in the Premier League now Daka is here.
And after Daka announced himself to English football supporters by scoring all four of Leicester’s goals in their 4-3 Europa League win at Spartak Moscow, Gary Lineker joined the fan club too.
Patson Daka is already making an impact at Leicester and enjoyed his best display this week
The 23-year-old scored all four of Leicester’s goals as they defeated Spartak Moscow 4-3
‘What a performance,’ tweeted Lineker, who scored 95 goals in seven seasons for the Foxes. ‘Thank you and well played, young man.’ Daka returned the compliment and added: ‘I’ll continue to do my best.’
Watch Daka’s goals and Vardy springs to mind immediately. The 23-year-old looks to run into the space behind the defence and is always on the move. Though he lacks Vardy’s expertise he is desperate to acquire it. ‘Jamie Vardy is one of my inspirations,’ said Daka.
‘I’m sure you can see that from my playing style. It’s quite similar to his and it’s a very big privilege for me to be working alongside him. He helps me a lot in training and I keep learning every day. I am blessed to be in this position.’
Former Leicester star Gary Lineker hailed the Zambian international following his display
Daka models his game on Jamie Vardy and has described the veteran as an ‘inspiration’
Despite his special night, Daka may find himself back on the bench at Brentford on Sunday. Vardy has seven goals this season and is likely to be restored to the starting XI after he was rested in Moscow.
Yet rather than hastening the end of Vardy’s Leicester career, Daka is just as likely to prolong it. Because if the 23-year-old can transfer his Europa League form to the domestic stage, Brendan Rodgers can use Vardy – who turns 35 in January – more sparingly.
Even for Vardy, starting 90-95 per cent of matches in his mid-30s would be a challenge, but 70-75 per cent would be more manageable. With Daka to share the load, Vardy can flourish for a few years yet.
Daka could play a big role in allowing Brendan Rodgers to rest Vardy throughout the season
The Zambia international joined Leicester for an initial £20million from Red Bull Salzburg but before he moved to Austria, he was part of a select group of players who had represented both Celtic and Rangers.
Before his first-team breakthrough at Kafue Celtic in Zambia’s capital Lusaka, Daka had a stint at Nchanga Rangers, about 250 miles away in Chingola. At this stage, he was not on the radar of leading European clubs but that soon changed.
As their signing of Sadio Mane, Erling Haaland and Karim Adeyemi demonstrates, Salzburg have an eye for a forward. Daka was a star of the side who won the UEFA Youth League in 2017, beating Manchester City, Paris St Germain, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Benfica along the way. After graduating to the first team, Daka exploded in the last two seasons, scoring 51 league goals.
‘When I see what has become of Patson, who came to Salzburg a good four years ago as a shy young lad, it is extremely impressive,’ sporting director Christoph Freund told Sportsmail.
The 23-year-old came through at RB Salzburg, who boast a great record of developing stars
Daka has already proven a popular dressing room figure and he could have a big influence
‘Patson has always worked hard and improved every year. The culmination was last season, in which he was not only top scorer but also the best player in the Austrian Bundesliga.
‘It will take Patson some time to get used to the Premier League, but he will make it because he has a great mentality and with his quality, especially his speed, he will help Leicester.’
Daka is already a popular figure at Leicester’s Seagrave training base, where he takes part in regular competitions with Kelechi Iheanacho and James Maddison after sessions have ended.
A recent one, organised by Maddison, involved left-foot finishes. Given three of Daka’s goals on Wednesday were with his left foot, he can conclude that practice makes perfect.