The former Liverpool captain is destined to lead the club at some point in the future.
His appointment to Aston Villa presents the perfect litmus test to prove his credentials. But Gerrard’s time could not only benefit his development as a manager, but could also help make Liverpool an ideal candidate to succeed Mohamed Salah at Anfield.
Leon Bailey may only have arrived at the club this summer, but the Jamaican international has already drawn attention during his brief stint at Aston Villa.
His explosive pace, energy on the pitch and deadly shooting range stood out and Bailey immediately took the lead in the Premier League.
In a recent study conducted by Twenty3 Sport, the analytics firm assessed potential candidates who could replace Mohamed Salah at Anfield.
The report was based on individual styles of play and specific metrics such as the frequency of hits made in the box, shots per 90 minutes and average goals expected.
Leon Bailey’s name was among the eight players who matched the criteria, with the winger making a large number of shots and touches into the opposing penalty area.
The Jamaican international has had a decent goal scoring record throughout his career. It’s not as bright as Salah at Liverpool, but Salah’s own record before arriving at Anfield was also not close to the numbers he posted at Rome or Fiorentina.
Impressively, despite Villa’s poor form which forced the change in leadership, Bailey’s own form has not waned. He’s averaged 0.92-per-90 goal contributions for Aston Villa this season in 291 minutes played.
Under Steven Gerrard’s leadership, Bailey will now play in a 4-3-3 system similar to that deployed by Jürgen Klopp at Liverpool, meaning he would be even more suited to a future move to Anfield.
Like the majority of Liverpool’s frontline, Bailey has a similar history of struggling for success and he is the epitome of the Never say die attitude most Klopp players have.
As a teenager, he was first rejected by Red Bull Salzburg before being picked up by KRC Genk and a few years later being forced to return to Jamaica at the age of 16.
He trained in his father’s academy, until he could finally return to Genk on his 18th birthday.
Bailey’s hunger and determination are present on the pitch. His father had instilled an insatiable work ethic in the player.
“Because of everything we’ve been through, I know Leon can’t be stopped,” his father, Craig Butler, told The Guardian earlier this year. “Leon’s goal is to become one of the best players in the world. “
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That attitude and work ethic, coupled with Bailey’s style of play and the fact that he will play in the same system under Gerrard, could make the winger the perfect candidate to succeed Mohamed Salah in the future.
Bailey is also the right age. Only recently 24, he has plenty of time to improve and perfect his game.
Gerrard’s presence at Aston Villa could also facilitate the move and facilitate future negotiations.
One thing is for sure, Bailey’s progress deserves to be watched closely under Gerrard. If, that will see him end up at Anfield, only time will tell.