The Star (Jamaica)

Bailey back in training

- DANIEL WHEELER Staff Reporter

Having missed out on the opening three games of Jamaica’s World Cup qualifying campaign, national winger Leon Bailey returned to training for his English Premier League team Aston Villa as the club prepares to resume the 2021-22 season this weekend.

Bailey, 24, missed the last two games because of a hamstring that prevented his participat­ion in Jamaica’s start to the final round of Concacaf World Cup qualifying. However, the ace winger is on pace to return after using the last three weeks to recover. Bailey, in an Instagram post, said that he was pleased to return with the team as they work towards facing European champions Chelsea tomorrow at Stanford Bridge at 11:30 a.m. Jamaica time.

“Excited to be back with the lads. Looking forward to the weekend against Chelsea,” Bailey said. The former Bayer Leverkusen player made his Premier League debut in Villa’s season opener against Watford, where despite losing 3-2, provided an assist in his 30 minutes of play. He was expected to feature in the home opener against Newcastle on August 21 but head coach Dean Smith elected not to include him in the 18 as Bailey injured his hamstring during training on the day before the game and according to Smith “did not want to risk him”. Villa won that game 2-1.


Smith elected to give Bailey an additional two weeks to recuperate, and he missed the 1-1 draw with Brentford, the final league game before the internatio­nal window.

Villa are currently in 11th place with four points from three games while Chelsea are in a five-way tie on points for second with seven, two points away from Tottenham, who have won all their opening games to start the season.

Bailey last featured for the Reggae Boyz in the second game of the 2021 Gold Cup tournament, a 2-1 win over Guadeloupe on July 17. He missed the last two games of the Gold Cup campaign because of an injury.

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AP Leon Bailey

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