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Everton: Rafa Benitez struck gold with Demarai Gray

Everton have been struggling this season under new manager Rafa Benitez, with a number of injuries affecting key players in their squad leading to only five wins out of seventeen games so far this season, leaving the Toffees 15th in the Premier League as it stands.

An injury crisis at Goodison Park has hindered the progression of the side in the first half of the season, with the likes of Richarlison, Yerry Mina and Dominic Calvert Lewin all suffering long term injury problems which has only further caused problems with Everton’s consistency and form in the league this season.

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The Spanish manager has lead the side to only one victory in the last five games, with their most recent fixtures against Burnley and Newcastle postponed over Christmas and New Year due to virus outbreaks in the Premier League, putting the Merseyside club further behind in their campaign.

Despite a negative start for the Toffees, there is one player who has gone from strength to strength in his short time with the club since he was signed back in the summer by Benitez.

Benitez struck gold

Demarai Gray sealed an initial three year deal with the option for a fourth, in a move to the Premier League side from Bayern Leverkusen in July this year and has been crucial to Everton ever since his arrival.

The 25 year old has scored five goals and bagged two assists in 16 appearances in the Premier League so far, making him the Toffees top scorer in the league in the first half of the season.

Benitez struck gold with his summer signing, as according to Transfermarkt his market value has increased massively since joining Everton less than 6 months ago.

Despite only paying £1.7m for the winger, Gray was valued at £7.2m whilst at Bayern Leverkusen. However, since his arrival in Merseyside, this has increased by over twice as much as his valuation during his time in Germany, with the forward now currently valued at £19.8m.

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It comes as no surprise that Gray has become an asset of increasing value to Everton, according to One Versus One figures, he is currently in the top ten dribblers and has the fourth most blocks in the Premier League so far this season, proving that he is earned his place as a starter for the side.

The 25-year-old’s most notable performance is one of his most recent against Arsenal at Goodison Park where he scored the winning goal in the 92nd minute of the game to give Everton their first three points in eight league games, with former Premier League striker, Chris Sutton, hailing the attacker a “bright spark” after the game.

“He’s been a really bright spark for this Everton team this season. There haven’t been many but he has been a breath of fresh air,” he said.

The Tofees have had their game against Newcastle postponed due to rising virus cases, however, they should be back in action to pick up some crucial points against Brighton at home on Sunday, where Gray is sure to play a big part once again.

In other news: Predicted Everton starting XI after 2022 January transfer window

Article title: Everton: Rafa Benitez struck gold with Demarai Gray

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