Midfielder’s goal is to play at a higher level than Jamaica
Leon Bailey, coveted by European giants in club football, appears to turn his back on representing Jamaica.
The 21-year-old whizzy winger, who plies his trade in the German top flight with Bayer Leverkusen, claims that his goal is to become one of the greats in the football arena.
He recently revealed to FourFourTwo magazine: “The thing is I love my country, but as an individual my dream is to become one of the best footballers in the world.
“To do that I need to play at a high international level, and I can’t do that by representing Jamaica.
“It means I’ve got to play for a country that would push my name onto a ifferent platform, so that’s why I don’t think Jamaica is the best option for me.”
Jamaica is currently Bailey’s sole option to play international matches after it was incorrectly reported last year that he could represent England through his grandparents.
The Kingston-born midfield maestro, being monitored by leading English clubs such as Chelsea and Liverpool, would earn German citizenship if he was prepared to reside there for six consecutive years. Yet he only moved there in January 2017 from Belgian club Genk. But last August he signed a contract extension with Leverkusen to stay until 2023.
Bailey did don the golden shirt for Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz, albeit at U23 level against the Cayman Islands, when he scored from a free-kick, in 2015.
His international future attracts fierce debate back in his country of birth, with his adoptive father and agent Craig Butler in a constant controversial stand-off with the Jamaican Football Federation (JFF).
Butler is aware that Bailey is a commodity that the JFF want in their bid to reach the FIFA World Cup finals, but he also wants his son Kyle Butler to play for Jamaica as well.
Bailey allegedly accepted a call to make his senior debut for the Boyz, only to apparently withdraw. Butler claimed that the JFF reneged on their promise to include Kyle in their squad.
With a clutch of teams, including Real Madrid and AS Roma, keeping a close eye on Bailey’s availability then he must consider the long-term benefits of a move to another country as it would end his shot of gaining German citizenship in January 2023.
The saga continues over whether Bailey will ever represent the Boyz, and he has a surprisingly wise head on such young shoulders.
However, his words ring out that he believes he requires a bigger international arena to show off his silky skills, and he is obviously determined to play the waiting game to realise his dream of becoming the world’s greatest player of his era.
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