Wed | Sep 30, 2020

Grading Bailey - Bundesliga analyst, scout report highlight Jamaican’s performances and potential

Published:Sunday | August 9, 2020 | 12:25 AMLivingston Scott - Sunday Gleaner Writer
Bayer Leverkusen’s Leon Bailey (left) celebrates after scoring during the German Bundesliga  match against Borussia Dortmund in Leverkusen, Germany, on February 8, 2020.
Bayer Leverkusen’s Leon Bailey (left) celebrates after scoring during the German Bundesliga match against Borussia Dortmund in Leverkusen, Germany, on February 8, 2020.

German football writer Jonathan Harding says despite Leon Bailey’s less than impressive numbers this season, the Bayer Leverkusen star had a good campaign and continues to develop at the Bundesliga club.

He also says Bailey fits Leverkusen’s style of play and does not think another season at the German club would hurt the Jamaican winger.

“Leon Bailey had a decent season. I am not sure he took a step backwards, but the arrival of Moussa Diaby made life difficult for him,” Harding told The Sunday Gleaner.

“Bailey suits (coach Peter) Bosz’s aggressive style of play because it allows him to use his pace and dribbling skills. He is constantly getting better and is still a long way from the peak of his career ... a very exciting thought,” he said.

“His decision-making in the final third sometimes let him down, especially after he has done so well to get in those positions. Nevertheless, after three years at Leverkusen, I would be keen to see him play in a different team. Leverkusen and many teams in the Bundesliga are development teams. Bailey has done that, and I think one more good six months/season could see an opportunity appear.”

A recent tactical analysis, in the form of a scout report from bundesligaanalysis.com said the Jamaican is much more valuable than his numbers (five goals, three assists) this season suggest.

The report further stated that Bailey has one of the highest market values among players in the German first division, and that he has a bright future in spite of the need for improvement in several areas.

The analysis, which assessed Bailey’s positioning, dribbling, crossing, passing, set-piece and shooting ability, says positionally, he is always a threat, in and out of possession, as well as on either flanks.

NATURAL DRIBBLER

It noted that the Jamaican, who is often compared to former Bayern and Dutch star Arjen Robben, is a natural dribbler and his stellar technical skills and ability to deliver from both flanks are his main assets.

“As one of the fastest players in the league, his wide range of trickery, quick feet and acceleration makes him lethal in 1-v-1’s,” read the report.

Bailey averages 6.37 dribbles a game, which places him eighth in the league.

Although his passing stats, 40 per game with a 67.8% accuracy, are not that impressive, breakdown noted that most of his passing (28.5) is done in the final third, when he needs to break through the lines, and that the closer he gets to the penalty area the more dangerous he gets.

Bailey, the main set-piece taker for Leverkusen, provided five of Leverkusen’s goals from set-pieces. He is also fourth when it comes to secondary assists, with 0.16 a game.

“A sign he gets into good positions to pass to a teammate who in turn sets up another. Bailey’s five goals and three assists certainly do not define his calibre,” it said.

However, it states that the Jamaican must improve his defensive awareness, decision-making and discipline to really be considered a world-class player.

“Bailey has two red cards this season and on many occasions, his spats with opponents on the field have made headlines,” the report read.

Bailey helped Leverkusen advance to the Europa League quarter-finals where they will face Inter Milan. He is rumoured to be attracting the interest of several English Premier League clubs, particularly Tottenham.