Leon Bailey had an uncertain future at Aston Villa this summer after a disappointing campaign, but he’s been fantastic in pre-season and may have forced his way into Steven Gerrard’s starting eleven.

The 24-year-old has played in every friendly for Villa, scoring one in their 4-0 win over Walsall on July 9, scoring one goal and making one assist in their 2-2 draw with Manchester United on July 23 and scoring in their 2-1 win over Stade Rennais on July 30.

Villa travel to Dean Court to face Bournemouth in their opening Premier League game on Saturday, August 6 and it would be a shock if Bailey didn’t start.

Gerrard has opted for a narrow look to Villa since replacing Dean Smith, preferring central playmakers to wingers, but Gabriel Agbonlahor believes Bailey is good enough to operate in the makeshift role.

He told Football Insider: “He’s an option for Steven Gerrard. He’s gonna want that flexibility from players like Bailey. As much as Gerrard likes to play number eights instead of wingers in that narrow system, I feel like Bailey could play that role. He can tuck in.

“When I played, I played as an eight, as a striker, as a winger – and players are more versatile now than ever. It gives Gerrard another dimension, and it’s competition. That’s all he would have wanted going into this summer, and now he’s got it in abundance.”

Bailey joined Villa on a four-year deal from Bayer Leverkusen last summer and has gone on to make 18 appearances in all competitions, scoring one goal with two assists. The Jamaican international suffered an injury-hit debut campaign which hampered his form, but the belief is that he’ll shine if he can stay fit.

In other news, Steven Gerrard should avoid Ross Barkley