Bailey tentative for EPL return vs Arsenal

October 20, 2021
Aston Villa’s Leon Bailey (right) scores during the English Premier League match between Aston Villa and Everton at Villa Park, Birmingham, England, on Saturday, September 18, 2021.
Aston Villa’s Leon Bailey (right) scores during the English Premier League match between Aston Villa and Everton at Villa Park, Birmingham, England, on Saturday, September 18, 2021.

National winger Leon Bailey's return to competitive play could be imminent, according to Aston Villa head coach Dean Smith.

Bailey, 24, has missed over a month due to a quad injury suffered on September 18 when he scored his first English Premier League goal, in their 3-0 win over Everton. It is an injury that has kept him from the last three EPL games, as well as the recently concluded October slate of World Cup qualifiers for Jamaica.

Smith was originally hopeful that Bailey would play some part in last Saturday's fixture against Wolves. However, he was ruled out of the team. They would go on to lose that game 3-2 after leading twice.

Despite the lengthy delay, Smith said he is optimistic that Bailey will be able to play some part in this weekend's fixture against Arsenal.

"Leon Bailey hasn't ticked all the right boxes for the medical staff yet. We're hopeful he will be ready for the Arsenal game," Smith said.

The injury is the latest setback for Bailey in his rookie season in the English top flight, as he missed two weeks in August because of a tight hamstring. So far he has made three appearances for Villa this season, scoring one goal and registering one assist.

Bailey's injury left him unable to play a part in Jamaica's Concacaf World Cup qualifying campaign so far, as he has missed both the September and October windows.

Despite not being able to play frequently for Villa so far, former Aston Villa striker, Kevin Phillips, says that Bailey will show his capabilities on a regular basis once he is fully cleared to return.

"I think once he's fully fit we will see the consistency he can bring to the team," Phillips said in a Footballinsider247.com interview.

"I'm not expecting him to perform week in week out because he's still young. But I've only heard good reports about him and I'm really excited about watching him develop with some more game time."

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