JAMIE Vardy and Charlie Austin both marked their England calls by scoring as Leicester sent QPR back to the Sky Bet Championship with a 5-1 victory at the King Power Stadium.
England manager Roy Hodgson raised a few eyebrows when he named the two former non-league strikers in his squad for the friendly away to the Republic of Ireland and the Euro 2016 qualifier in Slovenia next month, but both men showed scoring instincts as Leicester wrapped up their Barclays Premier League season in style.
There was a real party atmosphere as Leicester celebrated their top-flight survival, secured by a goalless draw at Sunderland last week, with their biggest win of the season and victory made it 22 points from 27 for Nigel Pearson’s escapologists.
Chris Ramsey was appointed QPR manager on a permanent basis this week with a three-year contract but he has much work to do on this evidence as his side crumbled to finish bottom of the league. Their relegation fate was sealed before this latest embarrassment.
Vardy, Marc Albrighton, Leonardo Ulloa, Esteban Cambiasso and substitute Andrej Kramaric were all on target for Leicester with Austin’s glancing header the solitary consolation for the sorry visitors.
“England’s number nine” sang the Leicester faithful and Vardy was lively from the start, bursting down the right to set up a second-minute chance for Ulloa which his fellow striker curled inches wide of Alex McCarthy’s far post.
Jeffrey Schlupp soon hit the side netting and it was pretty much one-way traffic even if Joey Barton’s speculative free-kick from the touchline had Kasper Schmeichel scrambling back towards his line.
Leicester got the goal their play deserved when McCarthy, standing in for concussion victim Rob Green, spilled Riyad Mahrez’s 25-yard shot straight at the feet of the lurking Vardy who, having just stayed onside, was in no mood to waste the final-day present.
Ulloa fired over on the half-volley after Albrighton embarrassed Leroy Fer down the right and McCarthy clutched Vardy’s header under his crossbar before QPR briefly stirred.
Austin’s shot was deflected to safety by Robert Huth and Matt Phillips’ powerful drive whistled wide but Leicester doubled their lead two minutes before the break.
Schlupp’s cross from the left evaded everyone until his fellow wideman Albrighton raced onto it to crash home his second goal of the season from the edge of the area.
Austin had largely been isolated in the first half but within seconds of the re-start he tested Schmeichel from distance and the Leicester goalkeeper showed safer handling skills than McCarthy did from Vardy.
QPR had a clear sight of goal moments later when Phillips’ ball found its way to Reece Grego-Cox at the far post but the Irish teenager making his first senior start fluffed his big chance.
And the visitors were punished by two goals in as many minutes as Ulloa first deflected home Wes Morgan’s shot before Richard Dunne headed Albrighton’s cross straight to Cambiasso for Leicester’s player of the year to deliver a fine finish low past McCarthy.
There was some consolation for Rangers when Austin met Barton’s free-kick but the striker’s 18th Premier League goal of the season is likely to be his last for the club as others will compete for his summer signature.
Leicester had the last word four minutes from time when a loose ball ran to Kramaric and the Croatian made no mistake with an unerring finish.