Gray gives reasons why he didn’t go cap in hand for Leicester deal

Date published: Wednesday 17th February 2021 2:10 - Neil Foster

Demarai Gray admits he knew his days at Leicester were numbered before moving to Bayer Leverkusen in the January transfer window.

The 24-year-old left the King Power Stadium last month after being frozen out by Brendan Rodgers. The former England Under-21 ace played just 18 minutes of Premier League football in 2020-2021.

He did make an EFL Cup appearance but was clearly not in the manager’s long-term plans. Gray joined the Foxes from Birmingham City in January 2016.

He arrived with the East Midlanders in the middle of surprise title race. The winger made 12 appearances over the second half of 2015-16, as Claudio Ranieri’s men claimed the Premier League.

The next two campaigns saw Gray become a regular first-team player. But his game time diminished under Rodgers, with just three starts last season.

And things came to a head in January, promoting a move to the Bundesliga with his contract running down. The Birmingham-born star has now revealed that a new deal was never in the offing.

And, after being linked to many clubs, he was happy to exit a club that no longer valued his services.

“No, there was no contract offer, there weren’t any discussions about it,” he told Sky Sports. “I didn’t go knocking asking for one because I wanted to be, if I was to stay, at a club where I was wanted and valued. I didn’t feel that, I wasn’t playing. I didn’t take it personally – it’s just football.”

No hard feelings

Gray might have felt hard done by after what he had given to the Foxes. The talented wide man made 169 appearances in all competitions, scoring 13 goals.

But he confessed that relations with the manager remained good despite an inevitability about his departure.

“We had quite a few chats throughout last season,” he added. “It was a bit of a broken season but it was made clear if I wanted to move on I could. I thought it was the right time if I’m being realistic.

“As you approach the last year of your contract you get an idea if a team wants to keep you. I had a few discussions with Brendan – open and honest.

“I told him how I felt and where I stood and we agreed these things happen, where you do need a fresh start. There was never any drama.”

Gray has made just two substitute appearances for Leverkusen since his switch. He made a spectacular debut against Stuttgart on February 6.

After being introduced as a 74th-minute substitute, he scored ten minutes later in a 5-2 triumph.

 

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