Demarai Gray reveals how Rafa Benitez pedigree lured him to Everton

Demarai Gray Bayer Leverkusen TEAMtalk

Demarai Gray has sealed a return to the Premier League after signing a three-year deal at Everton with the option of a fourth, the Toffees have announced.

The 25-year-old former Leicester winger, who has joined the club from Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen for an undisclosed fee, is new manager Rafael Benitez’s third signing this week.

Gray, now in Orlando with the rest of the squad for the Florida Cup, told Everton’s website: “I’m delighted to be back in the Premier League at such a big club and I’m excited to play with the team and get to work.”

He added: “Speaking to the manager and (director of football) Marcel Brands, I had a really good feel for the club and I feel this is a place where I can continue to develop.

“The manager, with his ambition and what he has won in the past, is important and we’ll look to push forward and compete with the top clubs. I think a club of this magnitude has all the potential to be right up there.

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“Collectively with what Marcel and the manager have said to me, everything fits, including the club’s ambitions and goals. Everton are a very big club and the main objective is to be pushing and competing back up there in the table.

“I want to work hard on the training pitch and work my hardest for the club on the pitch.”

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Few familiar faces for Gray

Birmingham-born Gray, who will wear the number 11 shirt, began his career with his hometown club before making a £3.5million switch to the Foxes in January 2016, and was a Premier League winner at the age of 19.

He has been capped by England up to Under-21 level and is confident he can renew his acquaintance with striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin, whose 21 goals last season helped Everton finish 10th, to good effect.

He said: “I’ve played with a few of the boys for England Under-21s, so it’s always nice to see a few familiar faces.

“Dom’s kicked on massively with his goals and, for me, as a winger, that’s the type of player you want in the box. My job is to feed him for him to put the ball in the net.

“We’ve got top international players in the squad and I think we have a good balance. It’s an exciting time.”

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