Bailey rejects chance to make Jamaica debut after row regarding brother

The Bayer Leverkusen winger refused to make his highly-anticipated debut for the Reggae Boyz on Sunday

Leon Bailey’s long-awaited debut for Jamaica has been put on hold after the winger refused to play on Sunday.

The 21-year-old had appeared to end speculation about his international future by accepting a call-up to Jamaica’s squad for their clash with Bonaire.

But Bailey pulled out of that game after the Jamaican Football Federation reportedly went back on an agreement to call up his younger brother, Kyle Butler, instead making him go through a trial first.

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Butler, 20, plays for Austrian outfit FC Juniors OO and talked up his chances of a call-up to the national side at the end of last year.

Highly rated Leverkusen winger Bailey had been at the centre of a fight for his services at international level because of his eligibility to play for Jamaica, Germany, Belgium and England.

Jamaica thought they had come out on top in that battle when Bailey accepted a call-up to their latest squad this month, but in an unexpected turn of events, the winger says he will only play for the Reggae Boyz if his brother is given a chance.

“Obviously, I came to Jamaica because of the international call-up,” Bailey told the Jamaica Gleaner.

“I did agree to come based on the agreement we had. But when I got here, it was a totally different scenario. They didn’t keep their end [of the deal], therefore, I decided not to play this game.

“I am here for one reason: to represent the country. But they didn’t keep their end. Once they are willing to do that, I am ready to put on the national team jersey.

“By this November, if they are willing to go ahead with whatever we’ve asked of them, I’ll be ready to represent my country.”

The winger, who has been linked with a number of top clubs throughout Europe, believes he needs like-minded players alongside him if he is to perform at his top level for Jamaica.

“It [his brother’s situation] is a big part of it. I need players who can understand me. You can’t expect me to jump in a system and expect it to work.

“I need help. I am a winner, a phoenix, and I don’t like losing, so I need people who I know are capable of making things happen.”

If the situation is resolved, Bailey could make his Reggae Boyz debut against Suriname on November 17.