Boothroyd issues Gray challenge

Boothroyd issues Gray challenge

Leicester star Demarai Gray has been challenged by interim England Under-21 boss Aidy Boothroyd to force his way into the senior side.

The highly-rated 20-year-old winger, who joined the Foxes in January from Birmingham City, scored the only goal of the game on Thursday as the Young Lions won 1-0 in Kazakhstan to seal qualification for next year's European Championship in Poland.

And Gray, who is set for another run out for the Under-21s against Bosnia in their final Group 9 game at Walsall on Tuesday afternoon, has been urged to build on his display and aim for a place in the main squad.

Boothroyd, who is in charge of the Under-21s after Gareth Southgate took over as England boss following Sam Allardyce's recent sacking, highlighted the progress of Manchester United forward Jesse Lingard, and feels Gray should be looking to emulate him.

Lingard started the Three Lions' 2-0 World Cup qualification win against Malta at Wembley on Saturday, and Boothroyd said: "They (Leicester) have proved that anything is possible. When you look at some of the players who have played in the Under-21 group, they have pushed on to bigger and better things in terms of their clubs and at senior level as well.

"Obviously Gareth, who is in the job for the next couple of months, knows that better than anybody. Jesse Lingard is a good example - was playing for the Under-21s, was out of his club side, got back in his club side, was outstanding against Malta and has put himself right there in Gareth's thoughts.

"I can remember 18 months ago, Demarai came to Toulon with us as a little skinny thing from Birmingham and he has grown, physically, mentally, and he has matured really well."