There are “question marks” over Leon Bailey’s future as he does not fit into Aston Villa boss Dean Smith’s preferred system, according to Express & Star journalist Luke Hatfield.
Bailey only made the move to Villa Park less than three months ago, when the club forked out £25million to sign the winger from Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen.
What’s the latest news involving Bailey?
The start to Bailey’s Villa career has not gone to plan as he suffered an injury while scoring his first goal for the club in a 3-0 victory over Everton last month.
Smith confirmed the thigh strain would keep the 24-year-old out of action until after the recent international break.
However, he was out even longer than that as Villa’s medical staff refused to give Bailey the green light to return to the fold for the derby defeat against Wolverhampton Wanderers, which was the first encounter as domestic football returned.
Bailey made a welcome comeback last week, with him emerging as a half-time substitute during the 3-1 defeat to Arsenal.
But, despite his big money move, the winger is still waiting for his first start in the claret and blue of Villa.
What has Luke Hatfield said about Bailey?
Hatfield believes Villa are failing to play to Bailey’s strengths, which has resulted in the Jamaica international finding it difficult to break into his new employers’ starting line-up when fit.
Smith has regularly opted to deploy a 3-5-2 formation this season, meaning the width has been provided by wing-backs rather than more attacking-minded players such as Bailey.
Hatfield claims it has left question marks as to where Bailey fits into Smith’s plans.
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The journalist told GIVEMESPORT: “Leon Bailey is a winger and when you’re playing 3-5-2, how do you manage to get a winger in there when you’ve got your wing-backs already there providing the width?
“There’s question marks over that.”
In that case, why did Villa buy Bailey?
Bailey’s arrival was confirmed a matter of days before Villa talisman Jack Grealish’s £100million move to Manchester City smashed the British transfer record.
After the deal had been concluded, Smith described Bailey as a “hugely exciting young striker” and ear-marked his pace and creativity as his greatest assets.
Bailey has found the back of the net 55 times and registered a further 49 assists in 237 appearances at club level, meaning he is more than capable of delivering the goods in the final third of the pitch as long as he is given opportunities in his preferred wide role.
He has also impressed on the international stage, with him winning 10 Jamaica caps since making his debut in 2019.Internet Explorer Channel Network