Considering Demarai Gray’s Premier League career thus far has totalled just 1523 minutes since joining Leicester City in January 2016, which works out at less than 17 full appearances, summer tabloid talk of a £30million bid from Bournemouth and interest in his services from title-chasing Tottenham Hotspur perhaps seemed unjustified.
But the England U21 has been widely revered since his Birmingham days and during his time at the King Power Stadium, we have seen rare glimpses of his enormous potential – Sunday’s 2-0 win over Everton providing the latest example of huge promise.
While the Toffees didn’t give a particularly good account of themselves in the Midlands, Leicester bounced back well from the sacking of Craig Shakespeare, carving the visitors open twice to go two goals up within half an hour with the aforementioned Gray playing a pivotal hand.
The second goal owed much to an erroneous slice from Jonjoe Kenny taking the ball beyond Jordan Pickford, but the first was instigated by the 21-year-old, who picked up the ball in his own half, took on two Everton players while driving through the centre of the pitch and laid it onto Riyad Mahrez – allowing the Algerian to put a perfect cross into the path of Jamie Vardy.
It provided perhaps the most convincing evidence yet that Gray can combine his immense natural talent with mature decision-making, something that has been questioned in the past, and in comparison to Claudio Ranieri and Craig Shakespeare, the winger appears to have found a manager who trusts him to express himself in Claude Puel.
It’s still early days and Gray will inevitably be plagued by the inconsistency of youth. But if Puel continues to place his faith in the youngster, who in turn provides further moments of magic like we saw on Sunday, it seems almost inevitable some of the summer suitors will return for his services in January.
Bournemouth need more quality to escape the relegation scrap, and Tottenham’s squad still lacks that player who can offer them something a little more fluid and dynamic out wide.