Rooney vs Vardy: Which of the former England strikers is the better goalscorer?

Cameron Loftus acts as judge and jury to determine whether Wayne Rooney or Jamie Vardy can lay claim to being the superior goal-getter.

Planet Sport has steered clear of freak waves, 'somewhat surprising' digital disappearances and broken laptops to compare the data from two of the most prolific Premier League goalscorers of recent times.

About to be dragged through the mud as their wives go to court in what has been dubbed the 'Wagatha Christie' case, Wayne Rooney and Jamie Vardy have scored more than 300 Premier League goals between them.

But who can lay claim to being the better goalscorer?

Cameron Loftus weighs up the evidence.

Career paths

Wayne Rooney Man Utd Nov14

Rooney's route into professional football was extremely conventional compared to that of Vardy.

Wazza started out at Everton's academy aged nine, breaking into the first team at just 16. His stock rose and he was sold to Man United for £30million. He went on to become the all-time leading scorer for United before returning to Goodison Park in 2017. He ended his career with spells at DC United and Derby County, where he is now the manager.

Sheffield-born Vardy played semi-pro football with local team Stocksbridge Park Steels as recently as 2010. He continued in non-league with Halifax Town and then Fleetwood Town and didn't sign for a professional club until 2012 when he moved to Championship side Leicester City for a fee of around £1million. Almost ten years on, Vardy is a Foxes icon.

Premier League records

Jamie Vardy Leicester Oct19

Rooney didn't play exclusively as a striker and was employed in a role behind the front man and even deeper in midfield later on in his career. Nevertheless, he is still one of the most prolific scorers in the Premier League era thanks to his 16 years in the top flight - second only to Alan Shearer.

Rooney scored on 208 occasions in the Premier League in 491 matches, equating to an average of one goal every 2.36 matches. Breaking his record down further, 124 were with his right foot, while headers and left-footed goals were split equally with 21 in each category. From set-pieces Rooney added 30 more goals, scoring 23 penalties and seven from free-kicks.

Jamie Vardy may have not made his PL debut until 2014, but since he has played at least 34 matches in each campaign, barring this season. In 263 games, the energetic frontman has bagged 128 times, meaning he scores a goal every 2.05 games, a better ratio than his former international team-mate.

Vardy still trails Rooney's tally by 80, leaving him 14th in the all-time list.

Breaking his goals down, Vardy has scored 82 with his stronger right foot, 31 times with his left and finished with a header on 15 occasions. He has scored 26 penalties but is yet to register a goal from a free-kick.

Surprisingly, Rooney never won the Golden Boot, while Vardy collected the award during the 2019/20 campaign.

Overall records

Wayne Rooney Man Utd Apr17

Rooney amassed 883 appearances in a career that spanned almost 20 years and he found the net on 366 occasions - one goal every 2.41 matches. Thirty-five-year-old Vardy has played 376 professional matches since joining Leicester City and has hit the back of the net 159 times, averaging a goal every 2.36 games, once again edging Rooney with his efficiency in front of goal.

It is worth noting that Rooney has competed at a higher level than Vardy, with 11 Champions League campaigns compared to a solitary one for the Leicester man.

On a similar note, the former Man United striker played 120 times for England. It placed him second on the all-time list, just five short of legendary goalkeeper Peter Shilton. Rooney is the Three Lions' all-time top scorer with 53 goals.

Vardy, as with the rest of his career, was late to the party but he made up for lost time and racked up 26 caps for England between 2015 and 2018, scoring seven times.


There is no denying Rooney's incredible record at the highest level over such a prolonged period - he is the only player in Premier League history to have at least 200 goals and 100 assists to his name. But he also played alongside better players than Vardy has at Leicester.

Vardy may not be able to compete with the numbers that Rooney has amassed over a longer professional career, but there is some vindication to say he is the better goalscorer.

If you want an all-rounder, then Rooney's your man, but if you want goals, then boasting a better goalscoring ratio, you have to come down on the side of Vardy. Case closed.

Jamie Vardy Leicester Nov15

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