Gregory to protect McLeod
By Philip Seery
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The Rams boss has dealt with the problems of teenage millionaires before and does not want McLeod or other Derby youngsters to get swallowed up by the fame and the money.
"It is hard for an 18-year-old to deal with when he is suddenly earning £500,000 a year," said Gregory.
"I remember when I had Gareth (Barry) at Villa and gave him his first big contract at 18.
"He already had his own house and, even though he couldn't drive, he bought his first car.
"When I jokingly asked him if it was a Porsche he had in his garage he said 'yes'.
"Barry went off the rails a bit, passing his driving test on a Thursday and then getting done for drink-driving on the Saturday."
18-year-old striker McLeod scored his first senior goal against Sheffield United on Wednesday as The Rams won 2-1 and Gregory admits the Premiership vultures will be eyeing the teenager.
"Izale is contracted to us until the end of the season as a YTS boy," added the former Aston Villa chief.
"But he has just passed his 18th birthday and we have not got him signed up on professional terms.
"We have to look at that quickly because I fear he might get hounded by agents.
"And I have seen it so many times where players have had all the promise in the world at 18 and then been nowhere by the time they are 21."
Gregory insisted McLeod would be on a salary he could handle and would not be allowed to blow a tidy sum on a flash car.
"Izale is only on £70 a week with us as a trainee and gets no appearance money on top of that," continued Gregory.
"But get him a little more financial security and then he can buy his first car.
"Maybe a second-hand Ford Capri - and I know just the place in Peckham where he can lay his hands on one!
"We are trying to handle him as carefully as we can. Izale is from Perry Bar, near Aston Villa's training ground, and I don't want to see him driving up in a BMW soft top next week with a ghetto blaster going, 12 rings on his fingers, a gold chain around his neck and gold teeth in his mouth."