German football magazine claims Kingston-born winger set to kick start international career
Leon Bailey has not pledged his international future to his native country according to the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF).
The football magazine Kicker made claims that the 21-year-old is ineligible for England so has decided to represent Jamaica.
The Kingston-born whizzy winger, considered to be one of the most promising young players in the world, struts his stuff in the German top flight for Bayer Leverkusen – and is being monitored by a string of top teams in England.
With Jamaica’s national team hosting Bonaire in the CONACAF National League at Kingston on Monday, the JFF were surprisingly late in releasing their squad.
But when contacted about the report that Bailey was ready to play for the Reggae Boyz, a story that English tabloid The Sun also picked up and published the claims, the JFF denied that Bailey would be playing and said: “We don’t have him as playing for our next game.”
Bailey, whose stepfather and agent Craig Butler has been involved in a war of words with the JFF, has had one run out for Jamaica but only as a substitute at Under-23 level against the Cayman Islands.
He moved to Belgium outfit Genk where he won the country’s Young Professional Footballer of the Year before signing for Leverkusen last year.
Butler has also mooted that Bailey could play for Malta through his heritage as well as Belgium or Germany through residency laws – but he would have to stay in Germany until 2025.
The long-standing feud between Butler and the JFF is definitely thawing, although it always appeared extremely doubtful that Bailey will be named in Jamaica’s squad against Bonaire.
And the JFF named their squad on Tuesday evening after being contacted about Bailey’s potential inclusion.
Jamaica’s local-based players included in the squad comprise Amal Knight, Jeadine White, Je-Vaughn Watson, Peter-Lee Vassell, Ricardo Thomas, Alex Marshall, Ricardo Morris, Javon East, Fabian Reid, Jamiel Hardware, Fabion McCarthy and Shaun Francis.
The remaining members of the squad consist of in-form showstopper Andre Blake, English-based Michael Hector, Darren Mattocks, Cory Burke, Owayne Gordon, Damion Lowe, Dane Kelly and Devon Williams.
And Jamaica midfielder Vassell, who plays for Harbour View in the island’s Red Stripe Premier League, is on a 10-day trial with Norwegian top-tier club IK Start prior to returning to the island for Monday’s showdown against ever-improving Bonaire.
– And Jamaica midfielder Peter-Lee Vassell, who plays for Harbour View, is on a 10-day trial with Norwegian top-tier club IK Start.
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