Leverkusen star in talks over surprise England call-up

Ross Gibson
Leon Bailey

Bayer Leverkusen star Leon Bailey is set to undergo talks with England, and could be heading to the World Cup with the Three Lions.

Bailey gave gave the Jamaican Football Federation (JFF) ten days to try and convince him to commit his international future to them.

That deadline has now passed, and SunSport report that the youngster will not represent his country of birth, and “will look at the options” now laid out on the table to him.

His father, Craig Butler, will hold talks with Three Lions technical director Dan Ashworth next week, and has not ruled out the chances of his son potentially gate-crashing Gareth Southgate’s squad for Russia.

Butler said: “I will be speaking to Dan Ashworth at the FA next week, but now it is a definite no as far as playing for Jamaica is concerned.

“That will come (going to World Cup) we will speak to them (FA), look at all the options and see what they have planned for my son.

“England has always been a great option, it has a lot of Jamaican players that were there before that have played for England.”

Bailey, who moved to Leverkusen from Genk in the summer, is regarded as one of Europe’s biggest prospects, and his form has alerted Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal to his potential.

The winger is yet to play any senior international football due to a stand-off between his family and the JFF.

Butler claimed that Jamaica had called up Leon and his brother Kyle Butler for the upcoming games against Antigua and Barbuda, but the invitation had been rejected.

He added: “Jamaica falsely stated Leon and his brother will be playing for them during the next international break.

“We responded by telling them this was not going to happen – they have refused to meet with me to discuss a proper national football system and culture.

“We are concerned about the future of young footballers in Jamaica, not my sons, they are safe.

“But with the current system in place I will not allow my sons to play for Jamaica unless they change and introduce a proper system of development with a transparent process of selection.

“Leon has to play international football, so we will look at the options.”

Butler also cleared up the issue of how his son – who has scored 11 goals for Leverkusen so far this season – qualifies to play for England.

He said: “He qualifies to play for England through his grandparents, my parents who are English.”

Southgate will name his squad for the friendlies with Holland and Italy next Thursday.