Everton signed winger Demarai Gray from Bayer Leverkusen for a reported fee of only £1.7 million in July. In today’s times, getting a talent like Gray for only £1.7M is rare. Gray had a short spell at Bundesliga side Leverkusen after he moved to the German club from Premier League side Leicester City. Gray was at Leicester for almost 6 years and scored 13 goals in that time. He was never a regular starter at Leicester and mostly came into games as a substitute. He eventually lost his place to winger Harvey Barnes.
Gray started Everton’s first home match as a ’10’ and then has been starting on the left-wing for Everton in their two away games. He has scored two goals so far, and has been linking up well with strikers Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
The above visual shows how well Gray has been performing for Everton in terms of his attacking abilities as well as creativity to create opportunities in the game.
The centre line passing through the bar graphs indicates the median value of the attacking actions of other players in the league. Gray has better numbers than the average values for other players in most of the metrics that have been considered in the visual. Gray has scored 2 goals in his 3 starts for the Toffees. He has a high goals per 90 average of 0.70 and an xG of 0.08. He has had a shot on target success rate of 66.67% and has also been consistent with touches in the opposition penalty box.
Being a left-winger mainly, it is important that he dribbles the ball past defenders and puts in good crosses to his fellow strikers. He has attempted approximately 6 dribbles per 90 minutes with a success rate of 66.67% which is a bit lower than the average value but can work harder on this and improve this success rate in the coming matches. He has attempted 9 attacking actions per 90 minutes and also has a high success rate of 55.56% which indicates that more than half of his attacking actions pose a threat to the opponent’s defence.
From Gray’s pass receive locations we can see that while he prefers playing from the left flank, he also switches wings in between games and moves to the right side of the pitch. He also drops deep into his own half to receive the ball and has the confidence to dribble the ball into the final third. He is more advantageous to his right from the left flank as he can use his pace to beat the opposition and defenders and can cut in to take a shot on goal.
His pass map indicates that his xT creation zones are from both sides of the pitch, as he has put in passes into the opposition penalty area which had a high expected threat. The number of passes on the left flank indicates he plays short passes to Digne, who plays behind him on the left flank and can in turn play through passes to Gray on the same flank. This quick give and go type of football can help beat the last line of the defence where Gray can carry the ball and cut in towards the goal to either take a shot on goal or spot a clever pass in the penalty box.
Gray has already been nominated for August Player of the Month for his contribution to Everton’s unbeaten start to the Premier League. Everton have already gained from their decision of bringing Gray back to the Premier League as the winger has scored two crucial goals for the Toffees and has had an impressive start to the season. Gray is only 25 years old and will be entering his prime in the coming years and this move to Everton will definitely help him succeed.
Having played in the Premier League before, Gray knows what it takes to become successful here and his performance in his first three games has proved he can be an important asset for Rafa Benitez in this season of the Premier League.