Birmingham City starlet Demarai Gray is feeling the pressure after the Blues turned down a rumoured £5million bid for him on transfer deadline day from Bournemouth – as reported by Sky Sports.
The teenage winger has struggled of late to make an impact in games and this was capped off by a horrendous miss against Brentford which can only have worsened his lack of confidence.
Gray had been in fine form in the games leading up to the transfer window, playing without fear and with freedom, using his pace and trickery to beat his full-back and create openings for the other forwards in the team. However, there has been a noticeable change in his play of late as he has been more circumspect when attacking and more willing to pass infield rather than take the initiative himself.
With only 38 career league appearances - and with 17 of those from the bench - Gray is very much still a rookie and it is entirely possible that having such a large price tag on his head is weighing down on him. Birmingham City have improved on the pitch under Gary Rowett but Gray will know that off the pitch the club's future remains uncertain and the knowledge that he is the most saleable asset that they possess must be a large burden for those young shoulders.
Gray hasn't been helped by the lack of form shown by on-loan Lloyd Dyer, or by the dip in form David Cotterill has gone through which has meant that Rowett has had to put the young winger back in the team rather than being able to take him out of the firing line and give him a chance to sort himself out. Neither Dyer nor Cotterill have been up to scratch of late and that has added pressure to Gray as one of the few creative outlets in the team to produce the openings with which Birmingham City can win games.
If Gray is to get back to the form he showed when he ripped apart Reading, then he needs to start enjoying his football again; not worry about the price tag or the responsibility on his shoulders and go back to not worrying about making mistakes - after all, he is just a young player making his way as a professional.