Andy Cole reckons his Premier League goalscoring record is disrespected and has explained why he loves watching Leicester forward Jamie Vardy.
Cole was amongst the finest finishers in the Premier League throughout the nineties and won a series of major honours during his time at Manchester United, including five league titles and forming part of the side which won a historic treble during the 1998/99 season.
The former Red Devils and Newcastle hit-man has been discussing the division’s current goalscorers and admits he is a huge admirer of Vardy, the Foxes forward having won a maiden Premier League Golden Boot last season following a 23-goal campaign.
Cole believes the 33-year-old is a throwback to former strikers who relished running in behind defences, and believes the Leicester forward has exploited the modern trend of defending further up the pitch.
“I love watching Jamie Vardy,” Cole told the Telegraph. “People may say he’s basic. Yeah he is basic – he basically runs in behind and there’s nothing wrong with that. With the majority of centre-forwards now, everything is in front, in front, in front.
“A lot of teams try to defend from or near the half way line now and that means there’s about 30 yards of space in behind but no one is prepared to make that run in behind. I don’t understand it.
Is this the number 9️⃣ you were hoping to see? 😉
👕 Jamie Vardy
🔢 218 matches
⚽️ 111 goals
🅰️ 30 assists pic.twitter.com/7AO8YGwmeF
— Premier League (@premierleague) November 12, 2020
“I don’t think people look at it being sexy to run in behind any more but of course it’s sexy. I enjoy watching those centre forwards who run in behind because they’re classed as bringing something different to our game now.”
The former England international believes that different styles of strikers will ‘come in and out of fashion’ and suggested forwards who ‘play off the shoulder’ will return to favour in the future, insisting defenders hate the prospect of facing a player willing to run in behind.
“Like anything in life, things come in and out of fashion,” he continued. “I think any change will be dictated by whatever comes through so there may end up being a massive influx of kids who want to be old fashioned No. 9s and then you’ll start to see the game change again.
“Defenders hate a striker with pace who plays off the shoulder and runs in behind. I remember they’d always say to me, ‘Oi Coley, stop running in behind will ya’. They don’t want to defend against it.”
Cole scored 187 goals during his Premier League career and stands as the third-highest goalscorer in the division’s history behind only Alan Shearer and Wayne Rooney, an achievement he suggests is often overlooked when comparing the game’s greats.
His achievement is all the more remarkable considering Cole scored just one penalty as part of that haul and the 49-year-old believes ‘people have always been disrespectful’ towards his goalscoring exploits.