Everton just completed the signing of winger Demarai Gray from Bayer Leverkusen on a three-year-deal with an option for a fourth. The forward played five years with Leicester City, featuring 133 times, before moving to Bayer Leverkusen for last season.
Speaking to evertontv after linking up with the squad in Orlando where they are for the Florida Cup, Gray spoke about wanting to become a key component in Rafa Benitez’ squad.
“For me, the targets that I’ve set myself and what the Club’s ambitions are, collectively everything felt right to me to join Everton.
“I want to push on, be a pivotal player in the squad, and help the team score goals and assist goals. I’m a speedy, tricky winger. I enjoy running with the ball, roaming around the pitch. I like to play anywhere along the front three and I feel like I can be dangerous in all areas. And with the ability I know I have and the belief I have in myself, I think I can add to this team.
“I feel like I’m at a stage in my career now where I can put everything together. There are areas of my game where I still want to improve and become better at. I’m excited to kick on.”
The Birmingham-born player talked about his conversations with Benitez and Director of Football Marcel Brands before joining the club.
“Speaking to the manager and Marcel, I had a really good feel for the Club and I feel this is a place where I can continue to develop. For a player, it’s important to feel their trust and belief.
“I obviously have to repay that on the pitch and deliver to help the team but, with what Marcel and the manager have said to me, everything fits, including the Club’s ambitions and goals.
“Speaking to the manager gave me the feeling he is someone who is very passionate, ambitious and can help me develop. That’s key because that’s the main aim. I want to work hard on the training pitch and work my hardest for the Club on the pitch. The objective is to be pushing and competing high up in the table.”
After multiple appearances up and down the England youth setup, Gray is very familiar with a number of Everton’s players and is expecting to slot right in. Like Townsend, he too expressed his desire to become a supplier of assists for Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
“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. Of course, that [breaking into the senior England squad] is one of my aims and ambitions. It’s evident Everton is a club where you can progress and achieve those goals
“I’m going to get my head down, focus on my club football and let that take care of itself. If the international call comes knocking, I’ll be delighted.”