Leon Bailey Plays Down Injury Fears after Brilliant Aston Villa Cameo

leon bailey aston villa
Aston Villa's Leon Bailey, left, reveals a shirt paying tribute to Steffie Gregg as he celebrates scoring during the English Premier League soccer match between Aston Villa and Everton at Villa Park, Birmingham, England, Saturday Sept. 18, 2021. (Tim Goode/PA via AP)

Reggae Boy winger Leon Bailey has played down injury fears after limping off following a brilliant 21-minute cameo in which he scored with a thunderous shot that wrapped up Aston Villa’s 3-0 English Premier League win over Everton.

Bailey, 24, who came on in the 61st minute at Villa Park on Saturday, sealed the points with his 75th-minute rocket – his first goal for the club since moving from German outfit Bayer Leverkusen in the summer for £25 million (US$34 million).

He was substituted on 82 minutes with a niggle.

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“I think it [injury] was from the shot. I think I hit it too hard!” Bailey said afterward.

“I started feeling a little bit stiff in my quad, but I don’t think it’s anything too serious.”

He added: “It means so much to me at what I accomplished in 21 minutes.  The fans were amazing. It was a perfect night.

“In the moment, I said I’m just going to smash the ball. It’s such a great feeling – I can’t even explain it.”

Leon Bailey was shown a yellow card after his celebrations included removing his shirt and displaying a tribute to Jamaican social media influencer Steffie Gregg, who died aged 26 in August from COVID-19 complications.

The three goals came in a nine-minute spell that ended Everton’s unbeaten start to the season.

The game sprang to life in the 66th minute after a lacklustre first half when Villa full-back Matty Cash fired past stand-in Everton goalkeeper Asmir Begovic for his first Premier League goal.

The Toffees conceded again three minutes later as Bailey’s corner was headed into his own net by Lucas Digne at the near post.

Bailey added the third after showing great composure to head the ball down before lashing it into the roof of the net.

With his goal, Leon Bailey became the first Jamaican-born Reggae Boy to score in the Premier League since Ricardo Fuller in 2011.

Dean Smith’s side moved up to 10th in the table after their second victory of the campaign.

CMC

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