Jamaica international Michael Hector will once again be on the hunt for a new club come the end of the next month when he is expected to leave recently promoted Fulham.

The 29-year-old defender has been with the club since 2019 and was a part of the successful promotion-chasing team in the 2020 season.   The Cottagers will once again be heading back to the topflight after winning the league championship a few weeks ago.

This time around, however, the player found playing time hard to come by and accumulated just seven starts in all competitions for the Cottagers last season.  In preparing for life in the top flight again the club recently announced that it would part ways with as many as 14 players with the Jamaican international among them.

Hector has enjoyed a nomadic experience in the English Leagues to date having played for some 18 clubs, including Reading (twice) and Hull City.  For Jamaica, he has made 35 appearances, last representing the team in July of last year.

 

 

 

 

 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 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 Reggae Boy Liam Moore has been stripped of the club captaincy by struggling Championship outfit Reading who have taken exception to the player’s ambitions of moving away from the club.

Reading made the announcement via its official website, making it clear it had become frustrated with the player in recent months.

 “Over the course of the last few months, centre-back Liam Moore has spoken with manager Veljko Paunovic and directors of the club to state his clear desire to leave Reading Football Club and pursue his career elsewhere,” the statement read.

“Obviously we are disappointed that Liam, a player awarded one of the club’s most significant contracts, has now stated his intention to move on. Whilst we have patiently waited for his representatives to provide us with options for us to consider in helping him fulfil that request, no offer or opportunity has been presented to the club to date,” it added.

Moore, who joined the club in 2016, following a loan spell at Bristol City, has gone on to make 216 appearances for the club.  Future appearances could be harder to come by.

“Although we have undeniably experienced a very difficult first half to our season, due in part to an unimaginable injury crisis which has most recently left us devoid of almost all our fit or available defensive options, we still demand loyalty, focus, and committed performances from every individual who pulls on a Reading shirt in front of our fans. And we expect our players, particularly our new captain, to wear the crest with pride and dedicate their total focus to the club on behalf of its loyal fanbase.”

Moore has since expressed surprise at the club’s decision via his social media account.

“Incredible shocked by the statement released tonight.  The player said via his IG handle.”

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.

West Ham forward and Jamaica international Michail Antonio has extended his contract with the English Premier League (EPL) for another two years.

The 31-year-old Antonio signed a new deal just 13 months ago, which would have kept him at the club until 2023.  The deal, however, had allowed for an extension clause that West Ham have now exercised to keep the player at the club until 2025.

Antonio has had a strong season for the Hammers so far scoring 8 times in 19 matches.  His goals have formed a crucial part of the team’s strong EPL campaign so far, which sees them currently just outside the top four.

Overall, for the club, he has scored 52 league goals in 175 appearances.  Antonio has also played his part in helping the club get to the knockout stages of the Europa League.  The forward scored the opening goal to help dispatch Dinamo Zagreb 2-0 on matchday one, a victory that ultimately helped the club top their group.

West Ham striker Michail Antonio was eager to represent Jamaica’s national team almost a decade ago but was overlooked for players in England football’s lower leagues.

Earlier this year, the England-born player was approached by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), regarding the prospect of representing the Caribbean nation, and agreed to switch nationalities.  Antonio qualifies to represent Jamaica, as both his parents were born on the island.

The striker, now 31, has confirmed, however, that it was not the country’s first attempt to recruit him and that he had in fact been contacted by the JFF while playing for Sheffield Wednesday in 2012.

“When I was 22, the manager of the Reggae Boyz, I can’t remember the name of him, came to Sheffield Wednesday to speak to players saying, ‘would you want to play for Jamaica?’ I said yes, I will come and play 100 percent,” Antonio said during an interview with Sport Bible.

“He said ok, I’ll give you a call, give you some information, bla, bla, bla.  He came and watched me play against Leeds that weekend.  I’m a very honest person, I had a stinker and I’m not going to lie, but I was an established Championship player.  I played in the Championship from 19 through to 25.  The next international break they were calling up players from League One and League 2, wingers, over me, which I didn’t understand,” he added.

In 2012, then president of the JFF captain Horace Burrell travelled to England along with head coach Theodore Whitmore and assistant coach Alfredo Montesso on a scouting mission to recruit players of Jamaican heritage.  Interestingly, Antonio played under Whitmore earlier this year, before the coach was fired in November.  

The player also dismissed reports that he was approached by the federation three years later while playing for Nottingham Forrest.  Insisting that neither he nor his agent ever received an offer at that point, despite claims to the contrary.

Antonio has been an instant hit since donning the country’s national colours, scoring twice in three games, which includes a 30-yard belter against the United States.  Despite the move coming late on in his career and leaving the England national team selection pool, he insists there are no regrets.

“It got to a stage where I just thought, ‘I'm not going to get called up’. I didn’t believe I was going to get the call.  There's loads of quality young strikers out there, he’s trying to build a team for the future. And that Tammy Abraham is young, Dominic Calvert-Lewin is young and Harry Kane is still quite young,” he added.

 “My mum was born in Jamaica and my dad was born in Jamaica. I went to Jamaica all the time when I was younger.  Why not try and see if we can get Jamaica to a World Cup after they’ve not been there for 20 years.

“No regrets whatsoever, I'm enjoying my football with them. And the difference with Jamaica, with England they got to the Euros final and stuff like that but with Jamaica, every achievement is a massive achievement.”  

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.

Jamaica international and Aston Villa wide player Leon Bailey is likely to miss at least a couple of games after leaving the pitch in the first half against Manchester City earlier this week.

The 24-year-old cut a frustrated figure after he was forced to leave the pitch after just 30 minutes, apparently suffering an issue with his thigh.  The midfielder had previously missed a few weeks after suffering an issue with the muscle after coming on against Everton in September.

New Villa coach Steven Gerrard admits that the injury did not look good but revealed the team was awaiting the results of a scan.

"Leon's one doesn't look great," Gerrard told BirminghamLive.

"He obviously has a muscle problem which, when he sprinted, he pulled up. He has a problem that we will analyse in the coming days,” he added.

"He will need an MRI scan and we will have to find out what the damage is. It looks like he will miss at least a couple of games. He was starting to look a real threat in training."

Villa will be back in action this weekend with a home fixture against Leicester City.  Bailey has missed five out of 14 Premier League games due to injuries this season.

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