Demarai Gray critics should heed Cristiano Ronaldo warning, Craig Shakespeare says

Craig Shakespeare says Demarai Gray can follow the Cristiano Ronaldo route to better statistics once his Leicester future is sorted.

Gray is close to finalising a new contract after a summer which saw Leicester reject bids from Bournemouth and Crystal Palace.

The England U21 winger’s promise persuaded City to pay Birmingham £3.5m midway through their Premier League title-winning season, but Gray has started just 10 league games since.

His end product is open to question after three goals in 61 appearances but, speaking ahead of Tuesday’s Carabao Cup tie with Liverpool, Shakespeare drew a comparison with a young winger who scored just twice in his first seven months in England.

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“Remember Cristiano Ronaldo?” he said. “When he first came here, people used to criticise him for the same things. With a run of games and experience, that will come.

“If the opposition put two defenders against you and you’re trying to beat them all the time, then you have to find another solution. That’s what football is all about, finding the right solution for that given moment.

“The contract is in the final instalments, his advisers are talking with our director of football and I’m excepting that to be completed sooner rather than later.

“I think it’s important we show a statement of intent that we intend to keep all our players. It’s well documented we had bids for Demarai. We didn’t want to sell him, we want to build the club with players of his ilk.

“He’s shown a real desire now to want to stay and progress his career with this club. It’s important we now tie that one up and concentrate purely on his football.”