Leon Bailey, Bayer Leverkusen whizzy winger. has not kicked off this week with a bang as expected and has landed himself in hot water with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF).
The Kingston-born 22-year-old, who turned down a move to Chelsea two seasons ago, has come under fire from the JFF (19 May) and only played a bit role as a substitute in the German top flight’s return on Monday (18 May).
Bailey is reported to claim that the JFF, rather than the players, would be to blame should the Reggae Boyz fail to reach the 2022 FIFA World Cup finals in Qatar. At the moment the Boyz are waiting to compete in the delayed CONCACAF Hex Qualifiers, with three of the six teams given an automatic passage to the football world’s greatest tournament.
And following in the footsteps of his stepfather and manager Craig Butler, Bailey has been critical about head coach Theodore Whitmore’s selection policies. He has claimed that the former Reggae Boy defender alters his squads too frequently. Although to be fair Whitmore has often has his hands tied by finances, so has been forced to blood island-based players.
JFF president Michael Ricketts immediately hit back at Bailey to come to the governing body with any grievances rather than go public, and the star risks potential punishment from the federation.
Ricketts retorted on Kingston radio station Hitz 92 FM this week that Bailey’s comments were “unfounded” and pleaded to the ace: “Tell us what you think the problems are!”
And JFF general secretary Dalton Wint has told the press that Bailey’s barbs had breached protocol.
Wint explained: “What he said was very unfortunate, and it does not auger well for good relationship building for players or staff to openly criticise your employer.
“You can’t be publicly criticising your coach or your administration without the possibilities of you being reprimanded, and so it is something that we are discussing internally as we move forward.
“We are imploring everybody to stay in line and to be respectful, and if you have any difficulties or concerns then bring it to the right forum and it will be discussed, deliberated, and actions taken – so don’t wash your dirty linen in public!”
Bailey, who joined Leverkusen from Belgium club Genk in 2017, has scored 19 goals in 82 German Bundesliga matches. He returned to action as the German top tier became the first in Europe to return following the Coronavirus outbreak.
But following a thigh injury he has fallen down the pecking order as fellow midfield rising stars Kai Havertz (wanted by Liverpool) and Moussa Diaby (linked with Arsenal) stole the show in the 4-1 success at Werder Bremen. Bailey played a brief role in the televised game competed behind closed doors, brought on as a 62nd-minute substitute with the contest effectively over at 3-1.
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