Gray can only learn - Dyche

Andre Gray
Andre Gray

Andre Gray can only learn from the experience after being banned for four games by the FA for historical tweets.

Boss Sean Dyche welcomes Gray back to the squad for the game at Manchester United on Saturday, with the striker likely to come in for some stick from opposition supporters, as well as closer scrutiny from the media.

But Dyche accepts it is part of Gray's learning curve, and said: "It can only help (his development) that it’s the first thing like this that has come way.

"We know it was unacceptable, but take that away and this type of situation he can only learn from. "He’s got to learn from it, it’s happened, you pay your price and move forward.

"The ones who don’t learn are often the ones who have trouble in the future, and I don’t think he’s that type, he’s trying to move forward."

While Gray is likely to be on the receiving end of some unforgiving chants from the stands, he has apologised for his actions and Dyche added: "I don’t know what abuse he will get. I think it’s fair to say his behaviour will be monitored more closely. I think that comes with the territory a little bit, going into the Premier League as a player and then an incident that’s not to do with football.

"But the biggest growing thing in the workplace is well being and life coaching.

"Yet someone like this is not allowed the chance to go ‘I’m sorry’."

The media glare is brighter than ever, and new to Gray in particular, in his first season at this level: "When these lads move up the ladder and grow as players that is part of it, the bigger the spotlight gets on you the more comes your way.

"He’s adapting to all of those challenges. It’s Premier League football, it’s this incident, handling the media, the fact people will gravitate towards him as he scores goals, it’s all part of players maturation away from the pitch.

"Everyone talks about on the pitch but there’s so much changed off the pitch.

"It’s a whole different profession off the pitch from even when I was playing."

A big difference is the emergence of social media over the last decade or so, and Dyche feels players might be better off steering clear: "Social media is a modern thing. For footballers I don’t think it’s a useful tool. There are good things to it, for charity work, getting a message out, promoting things, for families keeping in touch.

"In football it opens an unnecessary moment. Unfortunately in life often people will vent, and if they can vent directly at you they will do it, they are brave behind a tweet. I wouldn’t put myself up for that."

Gray has kept himself fit for when his ban was completed, and Dyche added: "He’s been fine. He was disappointed, he felt he held his hands up early on and said that’s not me anymore.

"I won’t speak to him about things any more than other players, he’s part of a group, we might look at this, we might look at that, on the pitch and off the pitch, it will be nothing more than all of the other players. If I can help them I’ll do it."