Leicester City star Demarai Gray wants more Premier League minutes for England U-21s

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Demarai Gray

Demarai Gray believes England’s young guns must be given more of a chance with their club sides as he revealed his frustration at Leicester.

The 20-year-old scored the opener in Thursday’s 3-0 win over Poland as the England Under-21s reached the semi-finals of Euro 2017.

It is the first time the Young Lions, who topped Group A in Poland, have reached the knockout stages of the competition since 2009.

They have followed England Under-20s’ World Cup success earlier this month while the Under-17s reached the final of their European Championships in May.

And Gray, who has made just 10 Premier League starts for the Foxes since joining from Birmingham 18 months ago, feels England’s rising stars deserve more faith.

“Managers have to trust you and give you a chance. If they do we will have more English talent coming on show,” said Gray, part of the Leicester squad who won a shock Premier League title in 2016.

“The way football is today, the way the game is changing all the time I think we can progress and see young players come through.

“It is all about opportunities. Playing at first team level is how you progress the best. You learn about the real game. If opportunities are given you’ll see more of the youngsters coming through.

“The young England generation has some very very good players. Hopefully there is opportunities given to all the lads coming up from Under-17 onwards. The future is bright for England.”

Gray was Leicester’s most used substitute last season – coming off the bench 21 times – and has been linked with a move away from the King Power Stadium.

And he admitted he has found his bit-part role tough, although he could play a bigger part if Riyad Mahrez leaves the Foxes this summer.

“Yes,” he said when asked if he had anger inside of him. “I used this tournament last season to motivate me to show what I am capable of. As soon as I get a chance I want to have my best game.

“I am hungry and want to make my mark. I want to express myself as much as I can. I don’t feel like I have been able to do that as much as I want.

“Shakey ( Craig Shakespeare, Leicester manager) has always been there for me at Leicester. He always spoke to me one on one. With him getting the job now I am happy with that and hopefully I will get more of an opportunity.”

Gray set up Norwich’s Jacob Murphy for England’s second goal on Thursday before Lewis Baker wrapped up the win with a penalty after Jan Bednarek was sent off.

England will play their semi-final on Tuesday but must wait until the group stage ends on Saturday to discover their opponent.

Murphy has impressed for England this summer after scoring 10 goals in 41 appearances for Norwich last season and echoed Gray’s thoughts.

“We’re a massive sporting country, our football stands out for itself, so we’ve got to keep putting our names out there, and doing well for English squads,” said the 22-year-old.

“Norwich give young players a chance, and that’s what we need more of. That’s the only chance we’re going to get to develop young English talent if we’re playing them regularly.”

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Former Liverpool and Real Madrid defender Alvaro Arbeloa to retire from football

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Alvaro Arbeloa

Former Liverpool, Real Madrid and West Ham defender Alvaro Arbeloa is retiring from football.

The 34-year-old Spaniard made three Premier League appearances for the Hammers last season before being released and in an interview with Marca he revealed he was hanging up his boots.

“It’s time to say goodbye,” he said. “Physically I was okay to keep playing.”

The full-back spent three years with Liverpool before returning to the club for whom he made his senior debut, Real Madrid, in 2009.

He won one LaLiga title and the Champions League twice, making over 200 appearances before signing for West Ham last August.

Asked what he believes the future has in store for him now he has called time on his playing career, he suggested he would be open to a return to the Bernabeu.

“Madrid is the club of my life, I will never call to ask for a job, but I am always available to offer myself,” he said.

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Rio Ferdinand claims Jose Mourinho has made Manchester United better to watch

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Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has praised the job Jose Mourinho has done in his first season at the club.

The Portuguese manager led the team back into the Champions League via the route of winning the Europa League, and United also won the League Cup last season.

Although the club only finished sixth in the Premier League, Ferdinand believes the other two triumphs should allow Mourinho some “respite” from the criticism that would otherwise follow such a low league finish.

More importantly, Ferdinand says Mourinho has made the team better to watch.

“I definitely think there’s been an improvement in the way the team’s played. The idea of going to Old Trafford isn’t boring like it was for the last couple of years,” the club legend said.

“I didn’t enjoy watching Manchester United the last couple of years. This season has been better, so you hope that will continue.”

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