'Twas my best goal!
Boyz striker Andre Gray savours wonder strike for QPRFriday, December 03, 2021
BY SEAN A WILLIAMS
Scoring goals is what Andre Gray does best.
In a fantastic professional career spanning some 12 years, the Wolverhampton native has done the job with every part of his body except his hands.
In football, the most difficult thing to do is score goals, yet some players make it look so effortless. Their repertoire includes close-up tap-ins, deceptive free kicks, thunderbolt strikes from distance, and elaborate overhead kicks.
It doesn't matter how you legally get the ball into the back of the net, it's still a precious goal, especially if your team comes out on the victorious end.
The reality is that some goals are so modest in their creation and execution, they are soon forgotten.
But every now and again, the spectacular is plucked from the striker's bag of tricks to create a lasting memory — so magical that it is video replayed for those who missed the moment to have the chance to savour it.
Jamaica forward Andre Gray created one of those occasions in the Queens Park Rangers' (QPR) 2-1 win over Derby County on Monday in the English Championship.
Gray, an English-born selectee to the Reggae Boyz set-up, found the 90th-minute winner for his club with a Michelangelo moment.
With the game headed for a 1-1 draw, the 30-year-old striker was well placed as the ball came off the upright, and with back to goal at the 12-yard mark, he took the ball on his thigh, then lined up his shot with the instep in one fluent move before swivelling with a right-footed half-volley to the top corner that gave the Derby goalie no chance.
The move looked rehearsed, but Gray says it was more instinct than anything else.
“I don't really know what was going through my mind at that moment; I think I just wanted to try and get my shot off quickly... it all happened really quickly and instinctively, and fortunately for me it went in the top corner,” he told the Jamaica Observer on Wednesday, two days after the work-of-art moment.
Gray, who has some 155 goals in near 500 appearances in the British leagues, thinks Monday's masterpiece was his defining goalscoring moment.
“I think it was definitely my best goal by far,” he said.
Gray's goal multiplied in value because it propelled his promotion-chasing team into third with 35 points on the Championship grid. QPR trail Fulham (43 points) and Bournemouth (42).
“The goal was really important, especially when you consider the position we are in in the league table. We know we have a long way to go, but it is another good step forward,” said the stocky and bustling front man.
Importantly for the Watford man, who is on a season-long loan with QPR, is, that goal and increasing performance come against the background of his return from injury.
“I injured my hamstring just before the national team games, which was really frustrating, but I just wanted to be back as soon as I could and worked really hard to try and keep my fitness up and come back ready and better than before I was injured,” Gray shared.
The former Burnley and Luton Town standout says, while he remains a Watford asset, his focus is solely on helping QPR gain premiership and the Boyz to the World Cup in Qatar next year.
“My goal is to help get QPR get promoted as we have a really good team and I believe we have a strong chance to do that and that's why I chose to come here,” Gray concluded.
QPR is also the club of Boyz goalkeeper Dillon Barnes. READ IT ON SUNDAY: Striker Andre Gray talks about his tenure in the Reggae Boyz set-up, the road to Qatar, and support for embattled Head Coach Theodore Whitmore.