Having been on Crystal Palace’s books just a few weeks ago, academy graduate Jake Gray made a brilliant start to life at Luton Town last night, grabbing the first goal of their three in a fantastic win over Aston Villa.
Despite having often been talked about as a player with the necessary skillset to make a genuine impact in the Palace first-team, Alan Pardew and Gary Issott were supposedly keen not to stunt Gray’s potential progress in the professional game, deciding instead to accept Luton Town’s offer of a free transfer with a hefty sell-on clause written into the deal, leaving the midfielder in little doubt over where his immediate future lay.
Having started the Hatters’ first league game of the season on the bench, the technically gifted attacking midfielder was handed his first start at Kenilworth Road for the visit of Roberto Di Matteo’s Aston Villa last night; dragging the hosts back to parity at 1-1 in the first half following Jordan Ayew’s opener for the visitors.
Luton would go on to add a further two goals later in the team thanks to Cameron McGeehan and a Okore own goal respectively in front of the Sky cameras, catapulting themselves comfortably into a second round home tie with the Championship’s sleeping giants, Leeds United.
Plenty will grumble about the decision to let Gray move on to pastures new in light of his latest headline grabbing moment, but with the man in question now beyond his teenage years and a certain Luke Dreher coming though the academy set-up in much the same style as Gray once did, his move looks to have been a good one for all parties concerned.
That doesn’t mean we can’t all watch him score his first goal for Luton with a beaming smile on our faces. On this evidence, it will be the first of countless efforts he pings into the opposition’s net whilst on Luton’s books.