In 2015/16, 67 homegrown players made their Premier League debuts. Ahead of the 2016/17 campaign, premierleague.com looks at some who made a breakthrough last term and will aim for further progress.
On 2 May 2015, Demarai Gray was playing for Birmingham City at Bolton Wanderers in a 1-0 victory that concluded the 2014/15 Championship campaign.
Exactly one year on, he was a Premier League champion with Leicester City, having joined the Foxes during the January 2016 transfer window.
An England Under-21 international, Gray attracted the attention of Leicester and many other clubs at Birmingham. His speed and tricky wing play helped him net six goals in 28 Championship starts in 2014/15.
Rewarded with a move to the King Power Stadium, Gray played a key role as a substitute as Claudio Ranieri settled on a tried and trusted starting XI during the second half of the season.
As Leicester aim to defend their title in 2016/17 and with the UEFA Champions League now part of their calendar, Gray cane be confident of more matches. He finished his first season in England’s top flight with a 52.2% dribble success rate, also registering an assist in a 2-0 win over Sunderland.
“I have to prove myself to everyone and I don’t think anything could have worked out better for me,” the 19-year-old said ahead of Leicester’s final home match of the season. “I want to express myself some more and show everyone what I what I can do.”
As one of the first Leicester players back for pre-season training, Gray is keen to impress.
“It’s always a good opportunity to come back strong and impress everyone,” he told lcfc.com. “So hopefully I can improve and keep getting stronger.”