I have mentioned a few times, on this blog and social media how I have been a fan of Leon Bailey for some time now. For those who are unaware, I am a huge admirer of German football so when Villa announced that we would be signing Bailey, to say I was excited, would be an understatement.
Fast forward fourteen months and for one reason or another it hasn’t quite worked out for the Jamaican at Villa Park. The 25-year-old didn’t have the best of luck last season when it came to injuries and this year he has been in and out of the team because, well let’s be honest, Steven Gerrard hasn’t got a clue what his best XI or system is (but that’s for another day and another blog).
He has 2 goals and 1 assist to his name so far this campaign but his performances, like the rest of the team, have been up and down. However, Bailey tends to play much of his football for Villa out on the right, the opposite side to where he made his name.
Getting more out of Bailey
In Germany with Bayer Leverkusen, Bailey played mostly out on the left, where he would run at defenders before crossing for his teammates or cutting inside and having a shot.
I would like to see him be given a run in his more natural position as I believe we still have a very good player on our hands and I don’t want him to become the latest of many players who have come to Villa, only to be sold on for next to nothing and excel elsewhere.
It’s not rocket science, the old saying square pegs in round holes comes to mind. Play players in their strongest positions in order to get the best out of them. Yes, we know Bailey can play anywhere across the front line but surely getting the best out of him in his natural position should be the priority?
For some reason, I am more desperate for Bailey to succeed at Villa than most, maybe because of my love of watching him in the Bundesliga, I’m not sure, I just can’t put my finger on it.
One problem I do have around Bailey is his Dad and agent, Craig Butler. Firstly, if you haven’t read the story and Leon’s upbringing, I strongly recommend it. Craig clearly loves Leon as much as his other children and like every parent will back them all the way. I expect that, who wouldn’t do that for their children?
The issue I have with Craig is his constant opinions in the media and social media. I don’t think it does Leon any favours at all.
Craig even suggested that his son could join Ajax in the summer just gone, which again I fail to see how this helps Bailey settle or encourage him to perform.
More recently, Craig has been speaking again, this time to the Jamaican Gleaner: “The coach that is at Aston Villa now was not the coach that recruited Leon”.
Understandable really, I am sure every player has concerns when a coach is changed, or maybe should see it as an opportunity to make a stake for a place in the starting line-up.
“That coach played wingers, he loved Leon and wanted him in. The new coach, Gerrard, does not really play wingers but he is getting to understand the importance of the player. It’s very important that the manager likes you, wants you in his system, and wants that position in his system.”
“I advocated strongly that if they don’t want him and they are not going to use wingers, they are to let me move him to Ajax this semester but we worked it out and he got to play.”
And this is where my issue is. Instead of keeping quiet in the press, he is openly making threats that don’t sit well with supporters. As I already stated, I know Bailey is a talent and hope he excels at Villa Park but I really do not see how the player benefits from Craig constantly popping up with these comments.
It is unclear if Bailey will be fit for Monday night’s game against Nottingham Forest but let’s hope he can find his form on a more consistent level as this will benefit both the player and Aston Villa.