Football News

Leon Bailey finally commits to Jamaica national team

By Steve Jennings

Published: 16:40, 23 May 2019

Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey has confirmed he will represent Jamaica at international level after being named in the country’s Gold Cup squad.

Bailey had been considering switching allegiances to England or Germany, but he has now committed his future to Jamaica.

Why has Bailey only just committed to Jamaica? Five key things to know…

  1. Bailey was born in Kingston Jamaica in 1997 then moved to Belgium to sign for Genk as a teenager.
  2. He represented Jamaica at Under-23 level, scoring in his only international appearance in 2015.
  3. In 2017, Bailey turned down a call-up to Jamaica’s senior squad, citing the poor quality of Jamaican football as his reason.
  4. His two grandparents have British citizenship but were not born in Britain, so Bailey wasn’t able to play for England instead.
  5. Playing for Germany also didn’t work out, and Bailey will now finally turn out for his homeland.

In 2017, Bailey spoke out about his decision to turn down Jamaica call-ups until the standard of football in the country improved.

He told German outlet Kicker: “They always want me to play for Jamaica, but I’ve had personal problems with the association since I was eleven or twelve years old.

“I could have played for Jamaica for a long time, but there are reasons why I do not play for Jamaica, I’m focusing on the club now.”

But the 21-year-old will now finally don the Jamaican shirt after being named in the squad for this summer’s Gold Cup, and he took to social media to announce his pride.

He tweeted: “I promise to wear the colors black green and gold with honor, pride, and dignity while aiming to be a positive role model for kids with a dream.”

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A target for Chelsea, Liverpool, Man Utd and Man City?

Bailey has been linked with four of the Premier League’s top six clubs in the past following a string of impressive displays for Leverkusen.

In November last year, Bailey told FourFourTwo he turned down Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City before leaving Genk for the Bundesliga.

“Manchester United, City, Chelsea, Liverpool – a lot of clubs were interested,” he said. “But the most important thing as a pro is taking things a step at a time and not rushing to the top too quickly. Because once you get there, where do you go next?

“I believe the right timing is important, and it was the right moment to be at Bayer Leverkusen.”

Bailey scored five goals and provided one assist in 29 league appearances this season, and interest from the Premier League appears to have cooled.