Jamie Vardy was my computer password but now I'm scoring alongside him

Kasey McAteer is joined by Jamie Vardy as he celebrates scoring for Leicester City against Southampton
Kasey McAteer with his Leicester City hero - and one time computer password - Jamie Vardy. -Credit:Robin Jones/Getty Images

When Kasey McAteer was 13 years old, the password on his computer was JamieVardy. Now, nearly 10 years on, the homegrown winger has scored goals alongside Leicester City’s legendary number nine to help earn promotion to the Premier League.

It’s been a steep rise for McAteer, who was playing in League Two with AFC Wimbledon in the second half of last season. But with Enzo Maresca impressed by the 22-year-old, he was handed a chance in the first team this term - and has taken it.

As competition for first-choice wing duo Stephy Mavididi and Abdul Fatawu, McAteer made 26 appearances in all competitions. And on the pitch, he proved to be a goal threat, scoring seven times. Only Vardy, Mavididi and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall netted more often.

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That’s not always been a part of McAteer’s game – he only scored once in 18 outings for Wimbledon – but he’s developed that quality under Maresca. His seven goals, all away from home, included tidy finishes at Liverpool and Southampton, a double at Rotherham and a header at Preston on the day City sealed the title. For an academy lad, it’s a hard feeling to beat.

“If you’d said to me this time last year that I’d have scored even one goal for Leicester City I’d have laughed at you, to be honest,” McAteer told LeicestershireLive. “It gives me this weird fire in my belly.

“I’m from around Leicester and I’ve been here since I was eight years old, so this is the club I love and the club I supported growing up. To score and hear the fans sing my name, it’s a buzz. Every time it’s happened, I’ve felt amazing. Unbelievable.

“It’s a massive step up from last season when I was playing in League Two. I feel like I’ve done relatively well, but a few injuries have set me back. But I’m only going to get stronger from now. I’m looking forward to next season and hopefully I can make an impact there.

“I’m just taking it all in at the moment. With my injuries, it’s held me back from where I wanted to be. It’s all part of the game. I’ve been proud of what I have done when I have played. But ultimately I’m just proud of the team and what we’ve achieved this season.”

Even being a part of the team has led to some pinch-me moments for McAteer, playing alongside those he watched and idolised as a kid. And there could be more of those moments in the Premier League next season.

McAteer got the smallest of tastes of top-flight football when Brendan Rodgers handed him his City debut in December 2021 with a cameo in a 4-0 win over Newcastle. He’s keen for a bigger bite now.

McAteer said: “It’s crazy, when I was in Year 8 or Year 9, my password on my computer was JamieVardy! I was a massive fan. So to step out onto the pitch with Vards and Sharky (Marc Albrighton) is unbelievable. To be in the same dressing room as well.

“And there’s the likes of Conor Coady and Harry Winks, people I’ve seen on the telly when I’ve been growing up. It’s been big to take in, but I’ve done it well. I’ve really enjoyed my season.

“It’s what dreams are made of for every young boy who plays football, to play in the Premier League. I had four or five minutes against Newcastle, but hopefully next season I can get a sustained amount of minutes in the team and kick on. I’m hungry for that so hopefully I can push on.”

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