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Demarai Gray feels belief shown in him by Rafael Benitez allows him to flourish

Everton v Norwich – Premier League – Goodison Park
(Image credit: Peter Byrne)

Everton forward Demarai Gray believes the freedom given to him by manager Rafael Benitez has allowed him to enjoy his football again.

The 25-year-old’s career was drifting after being sold to Bayer Leverkusen having fallen out of favour at Leicester.

Benitez brought him back to the Premier League for a bargain £1.7million after his six-month spell in the Bundesliga where he started just six of 12 matches – and was substituted at half-time in two of those – and managed the full 90 minutes just three times.

Gray has found a new lease of life at Everton, where he has already started all seven Premier League matches and scored three goals.

“That (consistency) has been my issue over of the past few years,” he told evertontv.

“I have a manager here and a team that believe in me and give me the freedom to express myself.

“I’m enjoying my football again. Everything’s clicked well here. I just want to keep working hard to maintain my level and keep improving.”