Jamaican winger impresses new coach in friendlies
Leon Bailey bagged a brace on Saturday and is biting at the bit to produce more dazzling displays in the Bundesliga like last season.
The Jamaican winger, given a new lease of life following his dismal first half to the German League season, has impressed new Bayer Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz during the winter break.
The 21-year-old from Kingston has scored three times in two friendly appearances against Dutch sides during the festive season, enough to excite ex-Ajax coach Bosz.
And more importantly for Bailey is the fact that he has been utilised in his favoured position on the right wing by Bosz.
Bailey, used on the right just six times in Bayer’s 16 league games under former coach Heiko Herrlich, explained: “I’ve always said my best position is on the right-hand side. On the right I feel very comfortable and, if a player feels comfortable, he can do a lot of things.”
He is being constantly monitored by giants of the game, including Chelsea and Real Madrid. Both clubs have allegedly been in recent touch with Bayer to ask why he was not getting playing time.
His stepfather and agent Craig Butler had threatened Bayer that he would sit down with Bailey over the winter break and consider all options and maybe even move teams.
Yet Butler has made a U-turn about Bailey potentially leaving and said: “I”m very happy that this change has come about because Leon did not develop under Heiko Herrlich.
“For Leon it’s very important that he enjoys football. He lives alone in Germany, the family is in Jamaica and if Leon does not have fun it kills him.
“Top clubs have come forward in recent months and they’ve been surprised that Leon plays so seldom.”
But two goals for Bailey against the Dutch first division side PEC Zwolle in their 3-1 triumph will have boosted his confidence, and the real test will be if he is selected to tackle Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday.
Bosz said after last weekend’s win: “In modern football not only the striker scores the goals, as you have seen with us.
“Leon’s fit, that’s important. He didn’t play all the games in the first half of the season, so it will be good for his confidence that he has now played two games and his two goals will help.”
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