“It was an England international. A current England international.”
Andy Gray has made a bold accusation about comments that were allegedly made to him by a current England international about statistics in football.
While doing punditry for Euro 2020 for beIN Sports, the former Rangers and Everton striker said that he was speaking to an England player recently about stats in football, and how the game has changed in recent years.
When asked by Richard Keys to elaborate on a story from a couple of years ago about a player who talked to them about individual stats, Gray said that what he heard was “stunning”.
Andy Gray makes claim about England player
He said: “He said (the unnamed England international in question), quite stunningly, ‘It’s to keep my percentages and pass completion up, because they would pull me in on a Monday morning if I tried seven or eight long passes to create a goal and they didn’t get there'”.
“They (this player’s coaches) would say ‘Listen, your percentages are down to 75, we need them up at 90. So, he said, ‘more often than not now, when it comes to me in midfield, I pop it off square or back and I know my percentages are good.’
“That is what he said. He did that, more often than not, to keep his percentages up for the Monday morning.”
Gianfranco Zola and Peter Schmeichel sat in the studio in disbelief.
Have stats ruined football?
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_EN) June 27, 2021
This conversation came off the back of a discussion about xG (expected goals), which Andy Gray said you’d need a maths degree to understand.
Gray was at one point seen as one of football’s most iconic commentators, perhaps best known for his work on Sky Sports during the 90s and early 2000s. In 2011, he was fired by Sky Sports for comments he made about female lineswoman Sian Massey-Ellis.
Unaware of the fact that his microphone was still on, Gray said: “Can you believe that? A female linesman. They probably don’t know the offside rule.”