Andre Gray reveals he used to carry a knife and required 15 stitches in his face after being slashed aged 20
ANDRE GRAY has revealed he used to carry a knife – and even required 15 stitches in his face after being slashed aged 20.
The Watford striker, 27, has criticised the cuts to policing to tackle the issue – saying no-one is "getting to the root of the problem".
Speaking about the knife-crime problem in the UK today, Gray told the Daily Mail: "It's been like this since I was a teenager.
"I carried a knife at one time… it was the thing to do. You felt you needed some sort of weapon.
"But there are many sides to it. Egos and fashion play a part. It seems to be the in-thing.
"There are kids not even involved in gangs who feel like they need to protect themselves.
"It's only now that people want to come out and speak about it, and acknowledge something needs to be done.
"It seems to be an agenda against a black culture for some reason but it is all races. And it's not just teenagers.
"There's all sorts of knife-crime going on and there are people 40 and 50 years old doing it. They're not trying to get to the root of the problem."
Gray went on to say a move to Luton Town in 2012 was "life-changing" for him.
The Hornets star added: "Luckily, I took my chance. I got my break, to move away and change my life.
"I moved to Luton where I became a man and that was the best thing that happened to me.
"I kept my head down and worked hard, got the big leap into the Championship and haven't looked back. It was completely life changing."
Gray also revealed youngsters can stay out of trouble if they know what their "passion" is – and how he can now serve as a role model.
He said: "It's easy to say we're role models. We can be role models for kids who love football.
"I can go into a school with Troy Deeney and talk to the footballers and I think they'd listen, but try to talk to the boys who aren't.
"They're just going to look at me and go, 'Well, you've got football, it's easy for you to say that,' and they're right, not all kids have that.
"You've got to find out what their passion is. What do they want to do in life?
"These kids want to earn money. If they're interested in business teach them about business. How to find a loan, start your business.
"We got taught about Henry VIII and never once in my life has it been useful to me and I don't think it ever will.
"When you come from certain backgrounds it's difficult when you have to find a way to make money and it leads you down the wrong paths."
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