Celtic new-boy Mickey Gray has revealed that he’d willingly forego his overdue Sunderland testimonial if it meant he could secure a permanent deal at Parkhead.
Sunderland announced as long ago as January 2001 that Gray was to be given a testimonial match and ironically the opposition were to be Celtic – but time went on and no testimonial materialised despite Niall Quinn’s highly publicised benefit game taking place in the meantime.
Now, though, Gray says he’d forego his testimonial in favour of a permanent contract at Celtic if he impresses Martin O’Neill during his four month loan spell.
“I had a match arranged against Celtic, though that won’t happen now if this loan deal becomes permanent,” the player told the Daily Record.
“Martin O’Neill was nice enough to say yes at the time and those kind of things stick in your mind so I have appreciated him ever since. We didn’t really have a date (for the testimonial) because Celtic were in Europe at the time.
Gray says he still harbours hopes of adding to his three England caps, and has his fingers crossed that European football with Celtic will give him the chance he needs to impress Sven Goran Eriksson.
“I obviously still have ambitions to add to the three caps that I have already got which is going to be difficult, but if I have a chance to be seen playing well then Celtic is the place to be. If you’re in the Champions League, it’s a great platform to show people what you can do.
“I have played for my country three times and that was an unbelievable experience for myself and something I am very proud of.
Gray told the Evening Times in Scotland, “I’m not about to start telling Mr Eriksson how to pick his team – I just hope, if I’m in the spotlight up here, it might do my chances some good.”