WHILE their most famous product stands on the brink of a Premier League title, Stocksbridge Park Steels are hoping they really have found the next Jamie Vardy.
Brodie Litchfield was much younger than the Leicester City and England star when he made his debut for the Evo-Stik NPL Division One South club.
While Vardy was 20, Litchfield was just 16 when he first appeared in the first team against Loughborough Dynamo and his potential saw him snapped up by Sheffield United last year.
Stocksbridge chairman Allen Bethel has even said the youngster is better than Vardy was at the same age.
Now 18, he’s just returned to the League One club after a loan spell back at his hometown team where he scored three goals in four starts.
And Litchfield says Vardy is the inspiration behind his own dream of making it to the top of the game.
“I get told all the time about what Vardy has done by the chairman Allen Bethel,” Litchfield told The FLP. “He thinks I can go as far as him. But it’s up to me isn’t it? I’ve got to put in the hard work.
“I’m very similar to him in the way I play. That’s where I get it from. But I’m not Jamie Vardy, I want to be my own player, but it gives me motivation.”
That drive means Litchfield is far happier learning his craft in first team football, rather than the comfy confines of the U21 game.
“Going on loan to Stocksbridge was getting used to men’s football again,” he said. “The loan improved me a lot – especially my first touch. I’ve gone back to Sheffield United a better player and I know how hard I’ve got to work.”