HomeBailey deserves new deal at Villa - Emery

Bailey deserves new deal at Villa – Emery

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Unai Emery has explained how a pre-season chat with Leon Bailey resulted in an upturn in form and a new contract for the winger at Aston Villa.

Bailey has verbally agreed a new deal to remain at Villa with his existing terms due to expire at the end of next season.

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The Jamaica international, a £30million signing from Bayer Leverkusen in 2021, was previously a peripheral figure at the club but has developed into one of the key figures behind Villa’s impressive run under Emery this season, scoring 10 goals in all competitions.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow night’s FA Cup fourth-round replay against Chelsea, Emery said: “The adaptation for some players is longer than for others. Leon came from the German league and in his first year he didn’t play consistently and had injuries.

“When I came here I tried to set him as a second striker, and get him using his best characteristics and he was still adapting. 

“At the end of the season he was still not consistently in the starting XI in key matches and I spoke with him this year in pre-season about how we could improve different issues and things because he was not showing us consistency.

“His reaction was fantastic. [I told him] Leon I want more. We need more of you. You need to be consistent and focus more because what you are doing is not enough.

“Now his commitment has improved. His focus, working everyday harder, has improved. His skills, scoring, and assisting has improved and we decided one month ago he deserved a new contract.”

Villa were hugely impressive in winning 5-0 at Sheffield United on Saturday but it came at a cost with defender Ezra Konsa suffering a knee injury that Emery says could keep him out for up to a month.

“He has a knee sprain and is not going to be available for Chelsea,” he added. “I don’t know [how long exactly] but three or four weeks more or less.”

Pau Torres will return against Mauricio Pochettino’s struggling side – and will start on the bench – but Lucas Digne and Jhon Duran remain absent.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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