Aston Villa

Aston Villa: Ashley Preece hails Leon Bailey for pre-season showing down under

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Aston Villa continued their Premier League preparations with a pre-season friendly in Australia on Saturday.

They took on Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United in Perth and found themselves two goals down at the break before the falling further behind on the stroke of half-time when Marcus Rashford’s strike deflected in off Matty Cash.

Steven Gerrard made five changes at the break including introducing Leon Bailey who halved the deficit within four minutes of entering the fray.

He turned provider for the Villans’ equaliser as his in-swinging corner was met by Calum Chambers in the dying embers to secure a 2-2 draw.

In his post-match review, journalist Ashley Preece hailed the Jamaican for his sharp display just a fortnight out from the club’s Premier League curtain-raiser.

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Speaking about Bailey’s performance, he wrote: “Looked hungry to impress and he won the ball back brilliantly to set up a chance for Watkins just after the break. Scored a fine solo goal, curling past de Gea with his favoured left peg as his good form continues ahead of the new season. Struck another really good effort with his right foot which Martial deflected just over de Gea’s crossbar. More good work and star man here given his goal and assist showing as he gives Gerrard something to think about for Bournemouth in two weeks.”

TIF Thoughts on Bailey and Villa…

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Do you remember where Aston Villa made their signings from? Take our quiz to find out! First up, who did Frederic Guilbert turn out for immediately before moving to Villa Park?

Bailey, who will be 25 next month, endured a frustrating first campaign in England having arrived at Bodymoor Heath for £25m from Bayer Leverkusen last summer. 

He suffered an injury-hampered season that limited his playing time to just 754 minutes in the league which saw him record one goal and two assists.

However, having contributed to 65 goals in 156 games for Leverkusen, there are few who can deny the talent that lies within, and given his former coach Heiko Herrlich previously suggested that he “can do anything”, Villa fans will be hoping he can keep himself fit as they look to improve in Gerrard’s first full season at the helm.

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