Leicester's Gray backed to follow Lingard into England team


Demarai Gray is closing in on a senior England call-up, according to the national team's interim Under-21 manager Aidy Boothroyd.

The Leicester City winger netted his first goal for the Under-21s in their 1-0 victory over Kazakhstan on Thursday.

And Boothroyd thinks Gray could follow Manchester United's Jesse Lingard in progressing to the first-team squad under Gareth Southgate, who is in charge for the remainder of 2016 after Sam Allardyce's exit.

"I can remember, 18 months ago, when Demarai came to Toulon with us as a little skinny thing from Birmingham," Boothroyd said to Sky Sports.

"He has grown - physically, mentally, and matured really well. 

"Leicester have proven that anything is possible. When you look at some of the players who have played in the U21 group, they have pushed on to bigger and better things in terms at senior level.

"Obviously Gareth knows that better than anybody and Jesse Lingard is a good example. 

"He was playing for the U21s, was out of his club side but got back in, and was outstanding against Malta, and has put himself right there in Gareth's thoughts."