Premier League 2015-16: Jamie Vardy's success will spark hunt for next gem, says Chris Smalling
Vardy has become the first player to score in 11 consecutive Premier League games.
Jamie Vardy`s rise from non-league anonymity to Premier League record-breaker could herald an era where top-flight managers scour England`s lower leagues in the hope of discovering the next "hidden gem", Manchester United`s Chris Smalling said.
Leicester City`s Vardy, who became the first player to score in 11 consecutive Premier League games, built his career at lower league clubs Stocksbridge Park Steels, Halifax Town and Fleetwood Town.
"With Jamie`s success, I think you will see clubs having a little bit more of a look in non-league for players," Smalling told Manchester United`s website (www.manutd.com).
"If you can find some sort of hidden gems in local or non-league football, I think it would be a no-brainer to give them a chance."
Smalling, who himself started out in non-league football at Maidstone United, said taking the long route to the top helped players to build character and keep themselves grounded.
"Jamie is such a laid-back character. Everyone is talking about him and he`s doing great things this season but you can tell he is the kind of lad that is not going to change," he said.
"He takes everything in his stride. It`s one job getting here but it`s 10 times harder making sure you stay here.
"If you do have a bad game, then you can look back and see how far you have come. For example, we didn`t have changing rooms in non-league football like the ones we see nowadays. Sometimes I`d be better off getting changed in my car."