EPL

'He can move us forward' - Gerrard confident sharper Bailey will shine for Aston Villa

By Sports Desk April 23, 2022

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard insists Jamaica international Leon Bailey merited a start against Leicester on Saturday, after a week of solid training.

Bailey’s addition to the starting line-up was a bit of a surprise, given the fact that it was just his second time in a starting line-up in 2022.

Bailey previously played the full 90 minutes against Wolves at the start of the month, but aside from that has been restricted to coming off the bench on six occasions since returning from injury.

"I thought it was a performance in the right direction for Leon. He's trained ever so well in the last week, 10 days. I think he's had a frustrating time. We spoke about that in the week, the likes of Bertrand Traore and Leon Bailey, ball carriers for us, people who can make the difference and help get the team up the pitch, especially when you're away from home against a Brendan Rodgers team,” Gerrard explained, following the match.

"At times, you're going to need people who can get you from one end of the pitch to another. That was the thinking behind his selection but, also, he's arguably been our best trainer and I want to reward people like that. He's doing it on a daily basis and I can't ignore people who are showing me that they deserve game time. So, all in all, I'm happy with his performance,” he added.

Despite missing a golden opportunity to put the team ahead, however, Gerrard is confident the player can contribute meaningfully before the end of the season.

"I thought he should have put us one up early on but, listen, I'll forgive him for that because he's in the right place. I'm sure with more game time, more sharpness and, if more opportunities fall for him again, I'm sure he can help us move forward."

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