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'He's a fantastic player': Gerrard wowed by 24-year-old Villa ace, realised how great he was in September
Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images

'He's a fantastic player': Gerrard wowed by 24-year-old Villa ace, realised how great he was in September

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard has tipped Leon Bailey to flourish in claret-and-blue.

The 24-year-old joined the Villans last summer, arriving at Villa Park to much fanfare.

However, Bailey has endured some injury troubles this season.

Photo by Rob Newell – CameraSport via Getty Images

The Jamaica international only recently came back from a lengthy layoff due to a thigh problem.

Bailey came on as a second-half substitute against Newcastle last week for his first appearance in 11 games.

As he’s only just come back from injury, Bailey will obviously need a little time to get fully match fit.

Gerrard, speaking ahead of Saturday’s Watford clash, stressed that the player needs to focus on his fitness and getting in the best physical shape.

The Villa boss reassured Bailey by saying “everybody is waiting for him” and believes he will “really burst onto the scene”.

Gerrard also spoke of how he first realised how amazing Bailey was when he scored that superb goal against Everton last September.

“We need to see more of it”

Birmingham Live asked Gerrard what Bailey could bring to Villa in 2022.

“Speed, one-vs-one ability to beat an opponent,” he replied.

“Leon, when he comes back, we want him to think like a creator and a scorer. You’ve seen it in flashes.

“I remember he came off the bench against Everton – I was watching the game on TV – and he lifted the stadium up.

“He scored a wonderful goal.

“Everyone is waiting for him. 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 have 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.”

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