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Could this be Demarai Gray’s big breakthrough season at Leicester City?

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Demarai Gray

After a summer of speculation that saw him linked with numerous Premier League clubs, Leicester City’s Demarai Gray will return to the King Power following international duty with a point to prove.

Whether the 21-year-old actively wanted a move away from the Foxes or not is uncertain but, with the transfer window behind him, now’s his chance to step up and prove himself on the biggest stage.

Gray has been on the precipice of the Leicester first-team for the past two seasons now, struggling for regular starting opportunities but – more often than not – he’s impressed during his cameo roles.

So far this season he’s accumulated just 44 minutes of Premier League action from the bench, following just nine starts in 2016-17, but there’s a growing feeling that this could be the year for him.

He sent a very timely reminder to Leicester boss Craig Shakespeare last night during England Under-21’s qualifying clash with Latvia, putting in an outstanding display of pace, desire and the end product.

Despite playing against admittedly weak opposition, the Leicester winger ran the show all night through a combination of his superb play on the wing and his freedom to roam around the area.

Gray had actually been left out of the first-team for last Friday’s clash with Holland, with the Leicester Mercury reporting that Under-21 head coach Aidy Boothroyd claimed the youngster was affected by all the speculation surrounding deadline day, but he showed little signs of a transfer window hangover.

It took all of 13 minutes for Gray to make a telling impact, picking the ball up on the left before cutting inside his man and thrashing a powerful and dipping right-footed strike into the far corner.

This took his recent goal-scoring tally to four goals in his last four starts for the England Under-21 team, a run that includes two matches at the recent European Championships against Poland and Germany, and it’s fair to say the 21-year-old is a man in form heading back to the Premier League.

For the time being it’s more than likely that Shakespeare will continue to use the reliable Marc Albrighton and the returning Riyadh Mahrez as his two attacking outlets – much to Gray’s dismay.

However, as long as the youngster manages to keep up his recent level of performance when he does finally get given the opportunity to shine, there is only so long that the Leicester City boss can ignore him for.

Will is a Multimedia Journalism graduate from the University of Salford, specialising in the art of sports. Long-time suffering Northampton Town fan who once saw us win a league title. Find him on Twitter - @96PearsonW.

Leicester City

Is George Hirst’s surprise OH Leuven move a precursor to Leicester City?

OH Leuven are owned by the same people who run Leicester City.

Mathew Nash

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Another one of England’s great young talents has decided to go and hone his skills away from these shores this week. After months of contractual trouble at Sheffield Wednesday, top young striker George Hirst has a new club. The son of former Owls legend David, the 19-year-old has headed to Belgium. The teenager, who was the top-scorer at the 2017 Toulon Tournament, has joined OH Leuven.

But is this now a clear precursor to an eventual move to Leicester City?

The Belgian second-tier side are owned by King Power. The same group behind the success of Leicester City in recent years is also funding this little known Belgian outfit. They even appointed former Leicester boss Nigel Pearson as the new manager at the club, despite his controversial departure from the East Midlands club in 2015.

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Leicester were one of many teams mentioned with an interest in Hirst over the past few months. But first-team football at the club would definitely have been hard to come by. At Leuven, Hirst will no doubt be hoping to go straight into the first-team under the guidance of Pearson.

His next hope will be to find the goalscoring form he showcased in 2016-17 when he scored over 40 goals for club and country. That was before his contract issue saw him cast aside by Wednesday for most of last season.

If he does find himself in Belgium and becomes the striker everyone believes he can, then surely Leicester City will soon plot his return to England.

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Leicester City

Tottenham should elevate reported interest in Leicester City protege Demari Gray

The 21-year-old could become a superstar if nurtured properly.

Jamie Watts

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Tottenham Hotspur were reportedly interested in the possibility of signing Leicester City‘s attacking protege Demari Gray a few months back, according to reports from ESPN. And after a fruitless period in the search for attacking reinforcements, Mauricio Pochettino should revive his interest in sorting a deal.

Gray contributed four goals and three assists in 30 Premier League appearances last term, and is currently the captain of the England U21 squad. But he is likely to evaluate his future with the Foxes this summer, due to his lack of regular game-time. And Tottenham seems a great fit for the winger.

Photo: Getty Images

Spurs have pursued multiple attacking targets since the window commenced, without gathering any real traction on any of their targets, and it seems Pochettino – for once – is more concerned with making a marquee signing, than bringing in a player with the scope to develop and grow into a top player at White Hart Lane.

Talks for Anthony Martial, Christian Pulisic and Ivan Perisic have all stalled in recent times, and a move for the Leicester City man could be just the ticket for Spurs. He brings all the attributes they’re currently looking for; blistering pace, exceptional balance, end product, a cool head and notably the ability to hit an absolute cracker if awarded space.

If he reaches his peak under the guidance of Pochettino, which is more likely than not given his immense talent, the player could double in market-value and could become a key player for the Lilywhites for years to come.

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Celtic

Celtic boost as Leicester City pull out of race for Patrick Roberts

The winger could stay at Parkhead beyond the summer, after the latest events.

Jamie Watts

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Celtic have revived hope in the possibility of signing Patrick Roberts once again, after Leicester City pull out of negotiations for the forward, according to the Daily Mirror.

The winger looked set to depart Parkhead, come the end of his loan, as part of an exchange deal with Premier League champions Manchester City for Leicester City superstar Riyad Mahrez, but the report claims the Foxes have ended negotiations with City.

James Maddison has been confirmed at the King Power Stadium on a five-year deal today, via the official club website, effectively ending their interest in Roberts, as the two operate in similar areas.


The news will have come as a surprise to fans of the Scottish champions, as Brendan Rodgers was all but resigned to the prospect of Roberts leaving this summer. But it now looks as though he could be spending a third-consecutive season in Glasgow.

The 21-year-old is unlikely to be made a permanent addition this summer, with the Leicester Mercury reporting that the player is currently valued at £15 million, which, without serious out-goings isn’t a realistic prospect for the Bhoys.

Photo: Getty Images

Rodgers will now hope he can convince Roberts to stay beyond the summer on loan, to remain as a key-part of the outfit as they begin their title defence. And the Manchester City man may have to accept if alternate suitors fail to make enquiries and he wishes to continue playing regularly.

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