There have been a number of players who have been making a name for themselves in the U23 side this season.
Most notably have been midfielders Miguel Fernandez and Jack Concannon, both of whom have found the back of the net multiple times this season, and did so together during the victory over their Leeds United counterparts back in October.
The third player who’s been making an impact, not just on the U23 side, but after his goal against Middlesbrough last month, is Odin Bailey.
19-year-old Bailey recently scored during the U23 side’s 2-1 defeat against Wolves, but he has found himself in and out of the senior side somewhat under Pep Clotet this season, sometimes he’s on the bench, sometimes he comes off it and sometimes he’s left out of it altogether. And it’s got me thinking if that’s really the best way for him to be developing.
For me it should be a simple case of you are in or you are out. Chopping and changing him between the first team and the U23 is just going to cause a lot of problems down the line. He needs to be settled in one team or the other.
That’s why I think it would be best if we looked to find a club to take him on loan when the January window rolls around. It’s clear that his path into the first team is currently blocked right now.
As a midfielder, he’s got the likes of Ivan Sunjic, Jude Bellingham and Josh McEachran ahead of him on the ladder. Even going forward as an option to play off Lukas Jutkiewicz, he’s got the likes of Alvaro Gimenez, Kerim Mrabti and new signing Jeremie Bela in front of him.
Having been on the cusp of first-team football, he needs to make the jump and unfortunately, for the time being at least, it doesn’t look as if St Andrew’s is going to be able to offer him a spot. So get him out on loan, playing senior football on a regular basis.
Should Odin Bailey have been given more game time?
And then he’ll be able to come back in the summer and with that experience under his belt, really be able to push those in front of him for a place in the first-team.