Former Crystal Palace midfielder Jake Gray has admitted to being shocked at seeing his move to Luton Town go through earlier this week.
Having initially joined the club following the closure of Wycombe Wanderers’ academy set-up, Gray had seemingly made steady progress up the Palace ranks, but with the new league season now incredibly close to getting underway, it sounds as though the Eagles’ coaching staff and Jake’s representatives decided that the time was right for him to cut his ties with South London.
Following a successful loan spell with Hartlepool United last term, plenty of Palace fans had hoped to see the attack-minded midfielder make the step up to Alan Pardew’s first-team in the months to come, but as anyone who watches Premier League football regularly will know, the opportunities afforded to young players and getting more and more sparse with each year that passes.
For all of the hand wringing on social media over the move which has seen Gray leave for Kenilworth Road, you’ll struggle to find a single Palace fan who would have honestly put him into the matchday squad for the visit of West Brom in less than two weeks time, proving beyond all doubt that, unless a young player demonstrates a truly exceptional talent, they’ll struggle to carve out a career in the Premier League from a standing start.
Whilst there are plenty who pour scorn on the likes of Chelsea for readily stockpiling masses of young players in the hope of later selling them on for a profit in the guise of an unscrupulous wholesaler; Palace’s approach to Gray’s immediate future could feasibly be seen as a highly commendable act, allowing him to spread his wings and establish himself permanently with a club who will afford him a platform upon which he can grow and mature as a professional.