Leicester Mercury

Gray left out of Europa League squad because future at club uncertain


- By JORDAN BLACKWELL jordan.blackwell@reachplc.com @jrdnblackw­ell

DEMARAI Gray was excluded from Leicester City’s Europa League squad because of the uncertaint­y over his future at the King Power Stadium.

City begin their European campaign tomorrow night at home to Ukrainian side Zorya Luhansk, and Brendan Rodgers will have a smaller pool of players to choose from, with Uefa applying restrictio­ns to the listed squad.

Rules state that four of the 25 players in a squad must have graduated from the club’s academy.

City only have three – Harvey Barnes, Hamza Choudhury, and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, now on loan at Luton – and so they could only name a maximum of 24 players.

And unlike the Premier League squad, Wesley Fofana was not eligible for the Under-21 list, which is where Luke Thomas sits, as the Frenchman has not been with City long enough.

That left Rodgers and his staff with decisions to make as to who to omit from the squad, with Gray, Daniel Amartey and Islam Slimani the trio that did not make the cut.

Gray, is in the final year of his contract at the King Power Stadium and with the winger choosing not to sign a new deal over gametime assurances, an exit over the summer was a possibilit­y.

Because of that, the 24-year-old will definitely be watching from the sidelines tomorrow night.

“Demarai, because of when we had to hand the squad in, we weren’t sure if he was going to be here or not,”


Rodgers explained. “But he is going to be in our Premier League squad and will be available for that.”

It is likely the same case with Slimani, who is also in the final year of his contract and who was expected to find a new club in the summer.

For Amartey, his hamstring injury is likely to rule him out of all of the group games, which means he will be in the treatment room until at least mid-December.

“Daniel was purely because of injury,” Rodgers said. “He’s going to be out for a long period.

“He’s sustained a really bad hamstring injury which is such a shame because he’s worked so hard after a couple of years out, to get game-time and play so well against Manchester City, and then to play against West Ham and to pick up the injury. We were so disappoint­ed for him.

“So he wasn’t going to feature for us (in the Europa League).”

With Caglar Soyuncu, Ricardo Pereira, Wilfred Ndidi and Jamie Vardy out injured, City have just 20 players available for their 18-man squad for Thursday’s game.

City squad list for Zorya Luhansk:

Kasper Schmeichel, Danny Ward, Eldin Jakupovic, James Justin, Timothy Castagne, Christian Fuchs, Luke Thomas, Wes Morgan, Jonny Evans, Wesley Fofana, Papy Mendy, Hamza Choudhury, Youri Tielemans, Dennis Praet, James Maddison, Marc Albrighton, Harvey Barnes, Ayoze Perez, Cengiz Under, Kelechi Iheanacho.

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