JAMAICA striker Andre Gray scored a late winner for English Championship club Queens Park Rangers (QPR) over Swansea City on Saturday, but the joy of hitting the target did not carry the usual buzz.
In the 1-0 win at Liberty Stadium in Wales — his club’s final game of the season — the English-born forward was on target in the 80th minute after coming off the bench late.
The 30-year-old Gray, on loan from Watford, tapped into an empty net after fellow frontman Ilias Chair strolled into the home side’s box before squaring unselfishly to set up his teammate’s 10th QPR goal of the season.
Gray could hardly hide the let-down he due to his team’s mid-pack position in the final standing.
“It was good to win and it was good to get the goal, but it was a disappointing season overall as we were in a great position halfway through…we really wanted a lot more,” Gray told the Jamaica Observer shortly after the game.
Even though he wanted more playing time, the stocky footballer says he leaves the bench a motivated man each time.
“As always, coming on I try and change the game. And, of course, as a striker I want to score goals so I’m really happy to do that and make my self top goalscorer of the club for this season.
“But personally, it doesn’t mean much because we weren’t playing for nothing but pride,” Gray noted.
The Jamaica international says it’s a mystery why he has not started more games under outgoing Mark Warburton, despite his recent scoring form for club and country.
“Again, it was a bittersweat moment for me [scoring today], but I believe I should have started a lot more games than I did. But, for whatever reason, I didn’t.
“I now need to look at myself and re-evaluate and try and do more for next season,” Gray said.
The journeyman player still wants to play in the top tier of English football, and has his eyes set on a return.
“I am always hungry, and people have always questioned that since I got there [playing in the English Premiership] I have always wanted to stay there and be there,” he said.
Gray represented Burnley and Watford in the Premiership.
Meanwhile, the former Burnley man says he is looking forward to being a part of the future thrust of the Reggae Boyz after the World Cup qualification disappointment.
“I love playing for Jamaica more than anything… the energy just gives me a completely different feeling and I am excited to try and be involved in the building process to get us to a place where, I believe, we truly deserve to be,” Gray ended.
The striker was a scorer for Jamaica in World Cup qualifiers — netting in a 3-2 defeat against Panama in January and bagging the equaliser in a 1-1 draw against El Salvador in March.
— Sean Williams