By Jonty Banks

29th Jun, 2023 | 6:10pm

Leon Bailey sends timely Aston Villa reminder to Unai Emery with standout performance on international duty

Leon Bailey has long been a mercurial presence in the Aston Villa ranks, but he seems to be finding his best form at a crucial juncture in his club career.

With Unai Emery expected to bolster his first-team ranks heavily this summer, many players are nervously waiting on clarification of their future in the West Midlands ahead of the new campaign.

One particular area that Villa are short-staffed in is the wide attacking positions, with Bailey and Bertrand Traore the only two out-and-out wingers that Emery can currently call upon.

However, it seems like Bailey isn’t going down without a fight, with the 27-year-old delivering a standout performance for Jamaica against Trinidad and Tobago.

The Jamaican international team, which comprises the likes of Premier League trio Michail Antonio, Demarai Gray and Bobby Decordova-Reid, defeated Trinidad and Tobago 4-1 in the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Wednesday night.

Bailey, who was given an 82-minute outing, was extremely impressive for his nation, picking up a goal and an assist in the victory.

Starting in a front two with Antonio, Bailey registered one shot on target, three off target and also managed to spurn two big chances – which will come as a frustration given his struggles in recent months. [SofaScore]

The former Bayer Leverkusen winger also managed 39 touches of the ball and completed 21 of his 24 passes at an 84% accuracy, which is a considerable upgrade on his average of 61.6% over the last year.

This strong showing, which also included a 100% success rate on long balls played and two key passes in the final third, was his second impressive outing in less than a week following the score draw against the USA last Sunday.

Although performances for his country aren’t likely to influence his club future directly, this upturn in form is perfect timing for Aston Villa’s return to pre-season training.

With no new attacking faces brought into the club yet this summer, Bailey remains in the box seat to continue as the club’s right winger alongside Ollie Watkins.

In other Aston Villa news, a contract negotiation with a first-team ace is top of Monchi’s in-tray at Villa Park.