Mon | Aug 8, 2022

I’m ready for new season, says defiant Bailey

Published:Tuesday | July 5, 2022 | 12:09 AM
Aston Villa’s Leon Bailey (right) scores during the English Premier League match between Aston Villa and Everton at Villa Park, Birmingham, England on September 18 last year.
Aston Villa’s Leon Bailey (right) scores during the English Premier League match between Aston Villa and Everton at Villa Park, Birmingham, England on September 18 last year.

LONDON (CMC):

Aston Villa’s Jamaican international Leon Bailey has sent a defiant message to his doubters ahead of the new English Premier League season, after being dogged by injury following his arrival from German club Bayer Leverkusen last August.

Bailey, 24, is determined to make up for lost time in a Villa shirt, and has sent a warning message on his social media site.

Captioning a video of his highlights from last season, the pacy winger told his doubters: “Talk the same talk you did last season. New season incoming, I’m coming for everything they said I couldn’t achieve, mark my words.”

Villa manager Steven Gerrard has described Bailey as a “fantastic player” and says everyone at the club is waiting for him to “burst onto the scene”.

Villa begin the new season on August 6 with an away game against newly promoted AFC Bournemouth.

Bailey moved to Villa Park last summer for around £30 million (US$36.3 million) as the club sought to deal with the impending exit of Jack Grealish to Manchester City. Having excelled during his time with Bayer Leverkusen, there was a sizable degree of excitement that surrounded Bailey’s move to B6 [Birmingham],” the Birmingham Live website said.

Bailey, who made his debut for the Reggae Boyz in 2019, had begun his senior career with Belgian side Genk, and registered 15 goals and 11 assists across all competitions during his final season in Germany.

“However, despite showing flashes of the electric winger that Villa fans were anticipating during those expectant summer months, his debut season at Villa Park was hampered by injury,” the website added.

Bailey completed 90 minutes in the Premier League on only three occasions, as a host of injury problems limited him to 18 league appearances, scoring once and providing two assists.

After recovering from an ankle injury that saw him miss Villa’s last five games of the season, Bailey played three times during the recent international break, rounding off a frustrating campaign with an early goal for the Reggae Boyz in a 1-1 draw in Kingston against Mexico in a Concacaf Nations League match.

Gerrard said in April that Bailey would be “like a new signing” for his side, with the Villa boss aware of the talent that the forward possesses.

“Everyone is waiting for him,” Gerrard said. “The owners, the board, the staff, the players. We’re all waiting for Leon to really burst onto the scene, stay healthy and find his best level.

“We’ve signed a talent who has produced at his previous clubs and he’s shown flashes. Leon’s focus has to be on staying fit, getting himself in the best physical condition and allowing his talent to flourish. He’s a fantastic player and we need to see more of it.”