London (AFP) – Leicester winger Demarai Gray says he is ready to sign a new contract at the club to end lingering speculation over his future after an eye-catching performance against Everton.
The 21-year-old has been in contract talks and former boss Craig Shakespeare said he was close to a deal almost two months ago.
But discussions have dragged on, not helped by a change of manager, with Shakespeare replaced by Claude Puel. Leicester rejected bids from Bournemouth and Crystal Palace in the summer.
Gray starred in Puel’s first game on Sunday, scoring the second and playing a huge part in Leicester’s opening goal in a 2-0 win against Everton and he confirmed he is prepared to sign.
“We obviously wanted to see who the new manager was and stuff, a bit of stability, but I’m happy playing football here and let my representatives deal with that side of it,” said Gray. “When they give me the phone call we’ll get it sorted.
“It’s for my representative and the backroom staff to deal with. All I can do is what I’ve done (against Everton) and when it comes to getting sorted out we’ll get to it.”
The England Under-21 international has been frustrated with a lack of game time under former managers Claudio Ranieri and Shakespeare after signing from Birmingham in January 2016.
Gray made just his 12th league start in 20 months on Sunday, having come off the bench 39 times — more than any other Leicester player since he joined.
“I’ve always said I’m ready to play and I’ve waited a long time,” he said. “Hopefully now this can be a start of a run of games for me. It’s what I need, to get some confidence and momentum myself and most importantly develop as a player.
“As long as I’m working hard I’m sure I can get that under the boss. It’s good for me and Ben (Chilwell) there’s faith in the younger players. It’s good to have that type of manager behind us. I’m feeling good.”
Gray’s goal owed much to Jonjoe Kenny after the Everton defender sliced his cross into his own net but despite the deflection Gray was awarded his first Premier League strike in more than a year.
“No-one is taking the goal off me,” he added. “It’s good for me and the confidence.”
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