Craig Butler has never been shy of publicly adoring his adopted son and world-renowned Jamaican football player Leon Bailey. As his manager and confidant, Butler has long fought for the world to see the talents of the young winger who has taken Europe by storm ever since his debut for Belgian club KRC Genk in 2015. In speaking with 876Stream, Butler expressed how pleased he was with Bailey’s debut performance, stating that it was “excellent and consistent with what is to come”
“He went in and executed well and did what he was supposed to do and I am very proud of him,” Butler professed. Leon came on for his Aston Villa debut in the 60th minute, making an instant impact by assisting John McGinn with a lovely cross from the left-hand side of the field. His efforts, however, proved futile as the team from Birmingham lost their opening game of the season to a very impressive-looking and newly promoted Watford FC team.
However, there is more to come from Bailey, according to Butler, who insists his player is in the perfect team to show the world what he is capable of. “Leon is on track to becoming one of the best players in the world and going to Aston Villa and improving Aston Villa is going to make his stocks rise much higher than if he were to go to a team like Chelsea.” Butler emphasized. He highlighted that having more access to game time at Villa while also being under less pressure, Bailey would be better able to express himself and, if success follows, stand out as an integral member in that team. “If he went to Chelsea and achieved success then he would probably go unnoticed, but if he goes to a team like Aston Villa, who are on the cusp of breaking in and end up winning the Premier League then his qualities will be much more noticeable.”
To say the Villains are on the cusp of an English Premier League title may be a stretch, but Butler’s point is clear – Bailey’s aim will be to announce himself on one of the biggest stages and be the shining light on a team that doesn’t attract too much media attention. Craig also highlighted that Leon’s impact as a Jamaican will soon eclipse the likes of past Jamaicans who previously honed their skills in the English top flight. “If he goes to England and does well, I don’t think there are any players in the history of home-grown talent in Jamaica that has accomplished so much.” He continued, “Leon is the only player in the history of Jamaica that was built in Jamaica, by a Jamaican, managed by a Jamaican and placed in the top three leagues of world football.”
Bailey’s performances over his five years at Bayer Leverkusen has shown gradual growth season over season, not just physically but mentally and in his skill set. The progression in Leon’s game has propelled him to being one of the most dangerous young attacking talents in Europe. A new challenge for him was very much inevitable, but whether he can adjust to the intensity and toughness of the English Premier League is still yet to be seen. Leon Bailey and Aston Villa face off against Newcastle in their next Premier League fixture, as Dean Smith and his men will look to bounce back from that defeat at Vicarage Road.