Underdogs prove that ‘anything is possible’: Andre Gray

Burnley's Sam Vokes (left) and Andre Gray celebrate. Photo: Richard Sellers/PA Wire.
Burnley's Sam Vokes (left) and Andre Gray celebrate. Photo: Richard Sellers/PA Wire.

Last season’s leading scorer Andre Gray believes strike partner Sam Vokes has shown that he belongs at the highest level.

Burnley’s record signing, who topped the Championship goalscoring charts when netting 25 times, shared a 41-goal haul with the Welshman as the Clarets secured an immediate return to the top flight.

And he’s been keeping a close eye on his fellow frontman from afar as Vokes featured in the Dragons’ rise to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 in France.

The former Wolves forward was given the nod by Chris Coleman for the Group B games against Russia and Northern Ireland before powering a header beyond Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois after being introduced as a substitute as Wales recorded a sensational 3-1 win over Belgium.

With the nation’s journey coming to an end against Portugal in the final four of the tournament, Gray said: “I’ve been watching the big man. I haven’t watched many of the other games because of holidays and the time difference but I’ve been watching Vokesy.

“They’ve been flying and they deserve their success. You can tell how much it means to them. They’ve done well to get so far.

“He’s always doing it on the big occasions. He scored the winner to get us up and scored a lot more important goals throughout the season as well.”

Gray added: “He can do it in the Premier League. Why not? He’s already proving it against world class centre-halves and goalkeepers at the Euros. I don’t see why he can’t do it in the Premier League.

“Obviously the last time the club was there he had his injury troubles so I’m surely he’ll be raring to go this season.

“We’ll obviously be working hard to achieve what we did last season. Hopefully we can take our form in to the Premier League.”

Gray also admits that he’s been inspired by the achievements of Wales and Iceland, in what has been a year for the underdog following on from Leicester City’s heroics.

Sean Dyche’s side are favourites with most bookmakers to suffer another relegation from the top flight but Gray is aiming much higher.

“They have proven, along with Leicester, that anything is possible,” he said. “Seeing what Wales have done is the great thing about football - anyone can win if they believe in themselves and work hard.

“They’ve got a good team spirit and they work hard for each other so we’re similar in that respect.

“Those attributes have been key for us as a club. It can take you a long way. That’s what we’ve got to take in to every game next season.

“We’re confident and hopefully we can go on to establish ourselves in the Premier League.”

He added: “We all want to achieve more. We don’t want to just settle for survival. If you set your sights low then ultimately you’ll finish in a low position. You’ve got to set your sights high and I think we should be pushing for the top 10.

“Look at how Leicester, Bournemouth and Watford did last season. They’ve shown that it’s not impossible. We’ll be setting our sights high and aiming for the stars.”