The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Matt Bad­cock

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 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 led to him be­ing 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 Blades af­ter a loan spell at his home­town team, where he scored three goals in four starts.

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 by the chair­man, Allen Bethel, about what Vardy has done,” Litch­field told “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.

“I’m not Jamie Vardy. I want to be my own player, though it gives me mo­ti­va­tion.”

That drive means Litch­field is far hap­pier learn­ing his craft in first-team foot­ball, rather than the comfy con­fines of Un­der-21.

“Go­ing on loan to Stocks­bridge was get­ting used to men’s foot­ball again,” he said. “Academy and U21s foot­ball isn’t quite the same as first­team foot­ball. So, they sent me on loan, to see what I can do with men around me and how I could han­dle it.

“The loan im­proved me a lot – es­pe­cially my first touch. Ob­vi­ously, some of the pitches aren’t as good, so I had to re­ally con­cen­trate on that first touch. I’ve gone back to Sh­effield United a bet­ter player and I know how hard I’ve got to work.”

LOAN: Brodie Litch­field

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