Bayer Leverkusen beat a host of interested clubs from all over Europe to snare Demarai Gray from Leicester City. - © BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images
Bayer Leverkusen beat a host of interested clubs from all over Europe to snare Demarai Gray from Leicester City. - © BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images

Demarai Gray: Who is Bayer Leverkusen's new winger?


Demarai Gray arrives at the BayArena with immense potential and an English Premier League winners' medal in his luggage - but what else is there to know about Bayer Leverkusen's new winger? fills in the blanks...

Demarai Gray

Age: 24
Club: Bayer Leverkusen
Position: Winger
Country: England (26 U21 caps/8 goals)

Key stats

Born in Birmingham on 28 June, 1996, Gray joined Birmingham City's academy as a 10-year-old and graduated to their first-team seven years later, making his professional debut aged 17 in the dying moments of Birmingham's 4-0 win over Millwall in the English championship on 1 October, 2013. Gray featured a total of nine times during the 2013/14 campaign and scored the first of his 21 senior goals in all competitions to date against Blackburn in April, 2014.

Eight of those goals came in 78 games for his hometown club before Leicester made their move for the exciting winger in January, 2016. Gray played 12 times in the back end of the 2015/16 season as Leicester shocked the footballing world by lifting the Premier League title. It made the then 19-year-old Gray a Premier League champion at the first attempt and he had a first taste of UEFA Champions League football the following season as Leicester reached the quarter-finals. His maiden Leicester goal followed in the sixth league game of 2016/17 away to Manchester United - a match in which new teammate Timothy Fosu-Mensah watched from the United bench. Gray leaves Leicester having made 133 of his 169 appearances for the club in England's top-tier and having played his part in the club's greatest chapter in its history.

Gray has represented England as a youth international from U18-U21 level and played at two UEFA European Championships. His first was in 2017 as England reached the semi-finals but were eventually dumped out on penalties by Germany - a game in which Gray scored during normal time, before Leverkusen midfielder Nadiem Amiri converted what was the winning penalty. Gray also played in the 2019 tournament, while he was named in Gareth Southgate's senior squad for the first time in September 2018 but didn't make it off the bench in England's 1-0 win over Switzerland at Leicester's King Power Stadium.

Plays a bit like: Rabbi Matondo

Fast, direct, tricky and happiest when standing his opposition up as he looks to go beyond them, Gray and Schalke's Welsh winger Matondo share a fair bit in common. They're also both two-footed, which stands them out from breakout Bundesliga Brit Jadon Sancho, whose success at Borussia Dortmund both Gray and Matondo will be hoping to eventually replicate.

Watch: From Keegan to Sancho - the Englishmen in the Bundesliga

Did you know?

Young Demarai kicked his first football's with real intent at Cadbury's Athletic - the team powered by the second-city's famed confectionery company; Cadbury's. It means he should find Leverkusen like home, considering his new club was founded in 1904 by German pharmaceutical giants Bayer AG.

What they're saying

"He's a talented player, Demarai... I’ve really enjoyed working with him. He’s a good guy, got talent." - Leicester coach Brendan Rodgers

"Gray is an unpredictable attacking player, who gives us a lot of options." - Leverkusen's managing sporting director Rudi Völler

"You see players now like Jadon who plays with real freedom. It’s good for the nation and the future England teams. It's very exciting." - Gray on compatriot Sancho