England Under 20 boss and former Northampton Town manager Aidy Boothroyd has urged Birmingham City star Demarai Gray to ignore all the speculation and hype that is surrounding him and to realise his true potential, according to reports on clubcall.com.
At the age of just 18, Gray is far from his best years but in his first full season with the first team, moments of greatness were there for all to witness at times. However, with only six goals and one assist as the number one winger at the club, Boothroyd is right to say that Gray should be focusing on his potential and not a move away from the West Midlands side.
The Blues winger has been called up by the ex-Watford boss for the first time to take part in the Toulon Tournament at the end of the month and Boothroyd is desperate for the teenage sensation not to ‘Fall off the wagon and start to believe the hype`.
In January, Birmingham received five offers from recently promoted Bournemouth, with the fifth offer reaching £5 million but the St.Andrews club stood strong and managed to keep hold of their most valuable player and now the rewards have come flooding in for Gray.
Upon his call up to the Under 20s squad, Boothroyd had this to say on why Gray needs to keep his focus: ‘With the amount of adulation and exposure these guys get it’s very, very easy for young players to fall off the wagon and start to believe the hype.
‘That is the real key. You had to do four or five seasons as a professional before you were talked about, they way some of these players are talked about now – they’ve only played for a couple of weeks.
‘It’s very difficult to know what level a player is going to get to. He has certainly got the temperament to be a really good player.’
Demarai Gray`s deal with the Blues expires next summer and manager Gary Rowett is desperate for the youngster to sign a new contract instead of letting him go on a free, even though the club would still receive a fee due to his age. Boothroyd also admitted that if Gray did leave the championship side, it would be a big gamble because he just isn`t guaranteed games at the big clubs he has been linked with.
‘I guess you’re saying if he goes to a bigger club will he get the games? And the answer is you just don’t know,’ he told Press Association Sport.
‘It’s only been a couple of seasons, he’s been in and out and got a few games under his belt. Every player is different.
‘Getting games and the exposure he has got, this is what we’re trying to do with our England players. We want them getting their cap accumulation.
‘They are going and playing a lot of games, on different continents, winning and losing penalty shoot outs, understanding opponents and styles.
‘We are trying to expose them to it you hope when they come to senior level they deal with it a lot better.’
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