Demarai Gray: Five Facts About LCFC's New Signing
Clearly benefitting from the fact he made his professional debut for Birmingham at the tender age of 17, Gray boasts more experience than your average 19-year-old. His prodigious talent was clear from the moment he replaced former Foxes loanee Jesse Lingard in the Blues’ 4-0 win over Millwall in December 2013 and neither Gary Rowett nor his predecessor Lee Clark have been afraid to throw him into the action. Of those 78 appearances, 72 of those have been in the Championship and 51 of those have been from the start, so Demarai is already well acclimatised to the demands of first team football.
2. He’s already got a hat-trick to his name…
Gary’s reputation was already burgeoning when Reading visited St Andrew’s in the Championship in December 2014, but the Royals could not have been prepared for what was about to hit them. Birmingham made a flying start, but it was Gray’s 34-minute first-half hat-trick, including a brilliant solo strike, that stole the show. Birmingham ran out 6-1 winners and Gray, then 18, had become the youngest Blues player to net a treble since Trevor Francis in 1971.
3. He’s an award winner
Gray’s performances have already seen him recognised both by his club and the Football League. On the back of that stunning hat-trick against Reading, he picked up the Football League’s prestigious Young Player of the Month award and was named Birmingham City’s Young Player of the Year at the end of last season.
4. He’s an international teammate of Ben Chilwell
There will already be a familiar face at Belvoir Drive for Gray’s first day of training with City. Ben Chilwell, who is due to return from a recent loan spell with Huddersfield Town, is Demarai’s England Under-20 teammate. They’ve even played in tandem down the left flank and both scored in a 5-0 win over the Czech Republic in September.
5. He played for the same junior team as Daniel Sturridge
Born and bred in Birmingham, Gray signed for Birmingham at the age of 10, having previously played for amateur outfit Cadbury Athletic, who once also boasted the talents of England and Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge.
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