Coming off the 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Catalonia earlier this week, Jamaica has named a 20-man squad to take on Suriname and Mexico in the CONCACAF Nations League starting on June 4.

The squad sees the return of striker Shamar Nicholson, who has made himself available after his self-imposed hiatus from the national programme, as he attempted to bed in with Spartak Moscow in Russia. The oft-injured Leon Bailey has also been recalled after spending much of the recent Premier League season on the Aston Villa injury list.

The remainder of the squad includes Andre Blake, Damion Lowe, Richard King, Javain Brown, Devon Williams, Ravel Morrison, Tyreek Magee, Leon Bailey, Rolando Aarons, Amarii Bell, Jamoi Topey, Kaheem Parris, Junior Flemmings, Jamal Lowe, Amal Knight, Atapharoy Bygrave, Daniel Green, Oquassa Chong and Kenroy Campbell.

Notably absent is West Ham’s Michail Antonio, who was among Jamaica’s leading scorers in the shambolic World Cup qualifiers.

Following the June 4 encounter, the Reggae Boyz return to Jamaica a day later before tackling Suriname at the National Stadium on June 7 at 8pm. Jamaica returns to action on June 14 when they play Mexico at the National Stadium in Kingston.

 Jamaica international Leon Bailey has vowed to not give up in the face of a difficult season at English Premier League (EPL) club Aston Villa.

The 24-year-old winger is back on the sideline for a third spell this term after leaving the field just before half-time last weekend.  It appears the player picked up what looked to be an ankle injury.  Aston Villa coach Steven Gerrard confirmed that the prognosis is not as bad as first feared but the player will still miss the team’s fixture against Burnley this weekend.

"Leon Bailey won't make the game," the manager told a news conference on Friday. "He left the pitch last week and unfortunately this game will come too soon. I don't think we're dealing with a serious issue... but he won't be at Burnley.”

The injury is the third for Bailey, who has had a stop-start season to life at the club, with a thigh injury previously putting him on the sidelines for weeks, on two separate occasions.  For his part, the forward is determined to recover from his early setbacks and looks determined to return before the end of the season.

“This season has been very tough, but God gives the hardest battles to his strongest soldiers. The most important thing is to overcome all those obstacles in your way & never give up, that’s what makes you a solid/stronger individual,” Bailey posted via social media platform Instagram.

“I just wanna say I really appreciate all the love and support from everyone & I’ll be back VERY soon.”

The full extent of the latest injury to Aston Villa and Jamaica forward Leon Bailey is yet to be determined but the team’s head coach Steve Gerrard sympathizes with the player’s situation.

On Saturday, the 24-year-old hobbled from the field five minutes before half-time, having suffered what appeared to be an ankle injury.  The setback was the latest in an up and down season for the winger.

Previously, Bailey spent lengthy spells on the sideline having injured his thigh on two separate occasions.  Since moving to the club from Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen, the attacker has shown flashes of tremendous potential but struggled to stay fit.  Gerrard admits the situation has been frustrating for everyone.

"It’s an ankle issue. In terms of the extent and the damage, I’m sure he’ll be MRI scanned in the next 24 to 48 hours. I’m really disappointed and frustrated for him because he’s worked really hard to get back, he’s been training ever so well,” Gerrard said.

Bailey started only his second match, since returning from injury, against Leicester last weekend, the coach had promised to give the player an opportunity to play his way back into form.

"We wanted to give him another opportunity off the back of Leicester to really try and keep him in the rhythm. You see how he started the game he nearly scores with a fantastic effort and a top save from Tim Krul,” Gerrard said.

"Not too far after that he’s got to come off the pitch. He’s frustrated, we’re frustrated and I’m sure the supporters are as well.”

  

Aston Villa coach Steve Gerrard believes Jamaica international Leon Bailey’s struggles are likely down to a lack of game time and has vowed to give the player enough chances to play into rhythm.

The 24-year-old winger has shown sparks of brilliance since making the move from Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen last summer but has faced lengthy spells on the sideline after struggling with injury.

 Bailey has started just two of the club's last 18 league fixtures, but a thigh injury saw him miss over nine weeks of action.  The player started the club’s last game against Leicester City but was less than impressive. 

"I think that if you asked Leon, that’s what he wants and craves. I was pretty pleased with his performance last week, he should have scored early on after six or even minutes to put us in the lead,” Gerrard said when asked of the player’s desire for game time.

 "He might put that down to a lack of game time and rust and getting in the rhythm. But Leon is a big talent and we want to keep him moving, keep giving him game time and the opportunity to get back in his own rhythm,” he added.

The Jamaican could be in contention for the starting line-up against Norwich tomorrow, but Gerrard remained tight-lipped.

"We know that when he is in that rhythm he’s a top player. I haven’t confirmed my team to the boys for obvious reasons and I haven’t confirmed it to any of my staff, you know, a couple of hours before the game I’ll confirm that team and you’ll have to wait and see what options I decide."

 

 

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard insists Jamaica international Leon Bailey merited a start against Leicester on Saturday, after a week of solid training.

Bailey’s addition to the starting line-up was a bit of a surprise, given the fact that it was just his second time in a starting line-up in 2022.

Bailey previously played the full 90 minutes against Wolves at the start of the month, but aside from that has been restricted to coming off the bench on six occasions since returning from injury.

"I thought it was a performance in the right direction for Leon. He's trained ever so well in the last week, 10 days. I think he's had a frustrating time. We spoke about that in the week, the likes of Bertrand Traore and Leon Bailey, ball carriers for us, people who can make the difference and help get the team up the pitch, especially when you're away from home against a Brendan Rodgers team,” Gerrard explained, following the match.

"At times, you're going to need people who can get you from one end of the pitch to another. That was the thinking behind his selection but, also, he's arguably been our best trainer and I want to reward people like that. He's doing it on a daily basis and I can't ignore people who are showing me that they deserve game time. So, all in all, I'm happy with his performance,” he added.

Despite missing a golden opportunity to put the team ahead, however, Gerrard is confident the player can contribute meaningfully before the end of the season.

"I thought he should have put us one up early on but, listen, I'll forgive him for that because he's in the right place. I'm sure with more game time, more sharpness and, if more opportunities fall for him again, I'm sure he can help us move forward."

Jamaica wrapped up their Concacaf World Cup Qualifying campaign for Qatar 2022 with a comeback 2-1 victory over Honduras on the 14th and final matchday of the Third Round of CWCQ on Wednesday night at the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica.

Honduras enjoyed the better start of the two sides and grabbed a 1-0 lead in the 18’. 

After a VAR review, the referee ruled there was a penalty for Honduras and Angel Tejeda stroked home the spot-kick to give the Catrachos the advantage.

Jamaica looked to get back on level terms and they would get the 1-1 equalizer in the 38’ with a penalty conversion from Leon Bailey.

The momentum was with Jamaica and the Reggae Boyz took their first lead of the contest just moments before the halftime whistle with Ravel Morrison burying a shot off a corner kick to make it 2-1 to the home side.

Jamaica aimed to extend their advantage in the second half, while Honduras tried to find a way back on even terms, but in the end, no goals could be found in the second 45 minutes, as Jamaica saw things out to collect the three points.

Jamaica winger Leon Bailey is suggesting that Jamaica's failed world cup campaign was partly due to players in the squad who lacked the required attitude and approach.

The Aston Villa player made the suggestions while speaking with Sportsmax following Jamaica's 1-1 draw with El Salvador at the National Stadium on Thursday night in what was one of Reggae Boyz more encouraging performances of the campaign. After falling behind in the 21st minute, Jamaica rallied to equalize in the 72nd minute and had several opportunities to win the game.

Head coach Paul Hall included several local players in the squad and Bailey believes that those players exhibited the kind of attitude that was far different to that of other players who were not available for the match.

“There was too much ego in the team and I’m happy that things have been changed a little bit," said Bailey.

"We have guys who want to listen and learn and go forward. We had too many hotheads in the team, too many players who don’t like to listen. Everybody has to want to listen. Nobody’s bigger than the game.” 

Jamaica failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar but Bailey says the performance against El Salvador has provided a template of how the team can move forward.

“We haven’t made it to the World Cup but tonight showed that we are a good team. We can play football and compete. I feel like we can build on this going forward. We showed a lot of character and eagerness to learn,” he said.

 

Reggae Boyz attacker Leon Bailey says he feels sharp after playing all 90 minutes of the team’s 1-1 draw in their World Cup Qualifier against El Salvador at the National Stadium in Kingston on Thursday.

The visitors took the lead in the 21st minute through an Eriq Zavaleta header off a corner before the Reggae Boyz equalized in the 72nd minute through Queens Park Rangers striker Andre Gray.

“I enjoyed the game today. I think the team enjoyed the game today and it was exciting for the fans. I thought we were brilliant in defense and attack but we didn’t take the chances,” Bailey said in an interview with SportsMax after the game.

“I felt good. Haven’t played 90 minutes in a long time. There’s much more room for improvement but I feel sharp, comfortable and ready to go,” he added.

A long time is right. The Aston Villa man hadn’t played the full 90 minutes of a game since a Premier League fixture against Southampton on November 5th.

He endured a long spell on the side-lines after suffering a muscle injury against Manchester City in December.

Jamaica have two more games in the span of five days and Bailey says he’s unsure how much of a part he’ll be able to play in those.

“I’m not sure what the plan is. I’ll speak to coach and see but, obviously, as I said, I haven’t played a full 90 minutes in a long time and having three games in such a short time, we’ll have to see how much minutes I’ll be able to play in the other two games or maybe I’ll just play one game. We don’t know,” he said.

The Reggae Boyz will next take on Canada on Sunday before ending their World Cup Qualifying campaign against Honduras at the National Stadium on March 30th.

 

 

 

 

 

Interim Reggae Boyz Head Coach Paul Hall has named a 24-man squad for the final three FIFA World Cup qualifiers against El Salvador, Canada and Honduras.

Jamaica international Leon Bailey made another appearance from the bench in Aston Villa's 1-0 loss to Arsenal on Saturday, amidst recent reports the forward has been unhappy with the substitute role.

Since returning from a long layoff due to injury last month, the player has been sparingly used by Aston Villa head coach Steven Gerrard.  In total the player has appeared from the bench in five of seven games, failing to feature at all in the other two.

In total Bailey has played 91 minutes, his longest spell of 21 minutes came against Arsenal on Saturday, which was equalled his time against West Ham last week.  It’s a situation his agent and stepfather Craig Butler insists has left the player feeling unhappy.

“He doesn’t like the bench, never will like the bench because he’s the type of guy that always wants to play. He’s been on the bench a couple of times and it really got him riled,” Butler was quoted as saying recently.

Bailey is expected to return to international duty for Jamaica next week, having missed the previous round with a troublesome thigh injury.  Jamaica, who are already eliminated from the competition, will face El Salvador and Canada.

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard insists the club is anxiously waiting to see the best of Jamaica forward Leon Bailey after a stop-start beginning to life at Villa Park.

The 24-year-old returned to English Premier League action last weekend, with a 10-minute spell against Newcastle, following a lengthy lay-off.

The player had been out of action since December after damaging his thigh muscle during the first half against Manchester City.  At the time, Bailey was finding himself sidelined for the second time with the same injury after damaging the muscle against Everton in September.

His exhilarating cameo against the Toffees, however, showed glimpses of what the player could bring to the table.  Gerrard took notice.

“I remember he came off the bench against Everton – I was watching the game on TV – and he lifted the stadium up,” the coach said.

“He scored a wonderful goal,” he added

“Everyone is waiting for him. The owners, the board, the staff, the players.

“We’re all waiting for Leon to really burst onto the scene, stay healthy and find his best level.

“We have signed a talent who has produced at his previous clubs, and he’s shown flashes.

“Leon’s focus has to be on staying fit, getting himself in the best physical condition, and allowing his talent to flourish.”

Aston Villa winger and Jamaica international, Leon Bailey, is in contention to return to the team’s line-up ahead of its match-up with a resurgent Newcastle on Sunday.

The 24-year-old, who moved to the club from Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen last summer, has not featured for the team since December when he was forced to leave the field after sustaining a thigh injury against league leaders Manchester City.

Aston Villa manager Stephen Gerrard had insisted that the player would not be rushed back into action but confirmed earlier this week that Bailey was back in full training and likely to feature soon.

“He’s back in the group and back in full training. He’ll continue to be pushed in the coming days. He has an outside chance of being involved at the weekend, but we’ll assess that in the coming days,” Gerrard said.

Bailey has had a stop-start season to life with the Villans after sitting out the early weeks of the club’s campaign with injury issues and then picking up a thigh injury, during a high-octane cameo against Everton in September.

He has a goal and two assists in nine Premier League games this term and has started on four occasions.

Aston Villa forward Leon Bailey is closing in on a return to the first team, having spent over a month on the sidelines due to injury.

The Jamaica international was forced to leave the field before halftime after pulling up against Manchester City early in December.

The injury was similar to one the player had suffered against Everton in September when he was also sidelined for several weeks.  Having missed out on the Jamaica Reggae Boyz three matches for the upcoming international window, Aston Villa coach Steven Gerrard believes the period will provide the player with plenty of time to slowly ease himself back into action.

“Leon is not too far away and we are hoping to have him back in the next two weeks.

“The (winter) break will benefit Leon as he won’t miss many more games,” Gerrard said.

“Hopefully in two weeks’ time he is ready to train with the group,” he added.

The 24-year-old who moved from Bayer Leverkusen for an estimated £25million last summer has had a stop-start beginning to life at Villa Park but has shown plenty of promise whenever he has managed to get time on the pitch.  He has scored once in 9 appearances.

Jamaica international Leon Bailey could be closing in on a return to action for EPL club Aston Villa having stepped up his rehabilitation from injury in recent weeks.

The 24-year-old has been out of action since pulling up injured against Manchester City in early December.  On that occasion, the visibly disappointed player left the pitch holding his thigh after sprinting in the first half-hour of that game.

The player has had a stop-start kind of season since joining Aston Villa in the summer from Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen.  Bailey also spent several weeks out of action after a sensation cameo against Everton where he damaged the same muscle after scoring a spectacular goal.

Aston Villa coach Steven Gerrard gave the latest update on the player ahead of the team’s FA Cup clash against Manchester United on Monday.

"We’re [with Leon Bailey] four and a bit weeks post-injury and he’s progressing well, stepping up his rehab — he's focused. It was an injury in a similar area to the first one, so we have to be careful and respect that,” Gerrard said.

Aston Villa will, however, have Ollie Watkins and Tyrone Mings available for selection ahead of the match at Old Trafford.

Jamaica international, Leon Bailey, will not return for English Premier League (EPL) club Aston Villa before Christmas after scans confirmed his latest injury setback.

The winger was forced to leave the field of play after just 30 minutes against Manchester City earlier this week, after appearing to sustain a non-collision-related injury.  Subsequent scans have revealed that the player has suffered damage to his thigh muscle.

Aston Villa coach Steven Gerrard confirmed the player would not be in the line-up for Sunday’s encounter against Leicester City and would be out for at least a few more weeks.

 “Unfortunately, he’s had a scan and that has confirmed there is a muscle injury, it’s going to be quite a long one so he’ll be missing for a number of weeks, you won’t see him before Christmas,” Gerrard said.

The midfielder had previously missed a few weeks after suffering an issue with his thigh muscle after coming on against Everton in September.  Bailey has had a stop-start season so far and missed five out of 14 Premier League games due to injuries this season.

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