Confident Gray delighted to get first Premier goal

Andre Gray admitted he always believed he could score goals at Premier League level after getting off the mark against Liverpool.

Monday, 22nd August 2016, 3:01 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd August 2016, 4:04 pm
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Just over two years ago, Gray was in non-league, playing in the Conference with Luton Town.

The 25-year-old’s rise has been likened to Jamie Vardy, and, having netted 25 goals to help the Clarets to the Championship title last season, Gray found the net in only his second outing in the top flight.

Some of the gloss was taken off his achievement after a series of homophobic tweets from 2012 surfaced later that night, but he said: “I always felt I could score at this level.

“I only got a couple of half chances last week, but it felt good to open my account against a really good side.

“I know we’ll make chances and it’s just a question of showing the right composure.

“I enjoyed the goal, but I think if this had been a Championship game I might have expected to come away with a hat-trick.

“I’ve just got to believe in myself.

“There were a couple of times when I probably tried to take an extra touch instead of carrying on driving, but it’s part of the learning curve.”

Gray left the ground with Liverpool and England striker Daniel Sturridge’s shirt, and he smiled: “Yeah, it’s been a big day. He’s someone I’ve watched at this level for a few years and it’s still a bit surreal to be playing against guys like that week in week out.

“But we showed that if we’re prepared to work really hard we can have an impact as long as we take every chance that comes.

“We had a great run last season but we come into every game as underdogs now and we have to give 150%.”

While Gray is up and running, the Clarets claimed ther first win in style, having had to wait 10 games two seasons ago at this level: “For me, getting off the mark in the Premier League is a massive achievement. We got off to a great start – we had a game plan from watching tapes of them throughout the week where they play it out from the back.

“We tried to cut that out and I thought we managed to do that quite well.

“The first goal was a bit of dog eat dog. That pressing game is how they play, and we tend to play quite similar.

“It was just a question of who could do it better, and I guess it was us.

“It was massive for us to get that first win so early.

“I felt we deserved something last week, and when you look at this fixture you think it’s not the easiest game to bounce back from a defeat against Swansea.

“But I think we proved we are ready for this league.

“It doesn’t get any easier – we’ve got Chelsea next week, and we know how tough it is going to be.

“It will be like that all season. But we’ve got a lot of heart and desire to do well and stay in this league.

“The win takes a bit of pressure off us because the lads took quite a while to get the first win last time they were in this league.”