BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
ZIMBABWE and Charlton Athletic striker Macauley Bonne has been spending time watching videos of Leicester City icon Jamie Vardy in his quest to become one of the few players to rise from non-league to the English Premier League.
Bonne, touted as the “next Vardy” by the English media after being linked with a move to Leicester City, joined Championship side Charlton last year from Leyton Orient, who were then playing in the fifth tier of English football.
Similarities have already been drawn between Bonne and Vardy, who was signed by the Foxes from the then non-league football Fleetwood Town in 2012. Vardy went on to help the club gain promotion into the Premier League, which they famously won 2016.
The Zimbabwean forward is looking to follow in the footsteps of Vardy as well as Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson, who started off in non-league before rising to the Premier League.
“I want to write a story like Vardy, I’m on my own journey and I don’t want to waste time,” Bonne told the British tabloid The Sun.
“I sit in the bath and watch YouTube videos of Vardy and Callum Wilson. They have gone from non-league to the highest level and it fuels me to say, ‘Why can’t it be me?’ The ambition of every kid is to play at the highest level one day, whether that’s with Charlton or another club. That’s my goal. If I’m given the chance, like I have been here (at Charlton), then I believe I’ll take it,” Bonne added.
Premier League sides Leicester, Newcastle and Sheffield United have in the recent past shown interest in the Zimbabwean player.
Bonne has scored eight goals in 24 appearances for the relegation-haunted Addicks and is tipped to fill the boots of top scorer Lyle Taylor, who has withdrawn his services ahead of the restart of the league this weekend.
“I’ve still got a job to do at Charlton, but the interest is flattering because I grew up on a council estate in Ipswich and used to play football on a basketball court with 30 mates. To go from that to being linked to Premier League clubs is overwhelming,” he said.
The 24-year-old forward, who recently played in Charlton Athletic’s 6-0 mauling by Arsenal at Emirates Stadium, also believes he has a good chance of helping his current club gain promotion to the Premier League.
“Charlton were a Premier League club not so long ago and that’s the only direction I want to see us going — up,” he said.
But in the meantime, the Lee Bowyer-coached side is desperate to survive relegation.