Leon Bailey accused of attitude problem amid Jamaica call-up dispute

Leon Bailey is contracted to Bayer Leverkusen until 2023. Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images

The president of the Jamaican Football Association has accused Leon Bailey of having an attitude problem amid an ongoing dispute that is yet to see the Bayer Leverkusen winger represent the country of his birth.

Bailey, 21, was called up to the Jamaica squad earlier this month but failed to make his competitive debut for the Reggae Boyz following the failure to call his younger brother, Kyle Butler, up.

Michael Ricketts, the Jamaican FA president, attempted to defuse the situation and expressed a willingness to call Bailey's brother into the squad for a practice match to assess his ability.

"It's so unfortunate," Ricketts told ESPN FC. "We think Leon Bailey is a quality player and we want the best players available to represent the country. He has been called a number of times before.

"The coach decided not to call up his brother because he has never seen him play, but if there's a practice game then he would call him and he would have a chance to look at him. But to call him up and throw him straight into a formal competition, no, he will not do that.

"The situation as we speak, Leon Bailey will be called up but we're not so sure about his brother. That's the coach's decision. He needs to see a lot more of him before deciding whether he deserves a call up."

"Absolutely [Bailey should be playing for Jamaica], but he has to be careful about the things that he says because that could upset some of our local players.

When asked by ESPN FC if he thought Bailey had a slight attitude problem, Ricketts said: "Yes, I do think so, I really do. He's been very indecisive. He won't become eligible for another country for many years and by then he would be in his late 20s which means he would have wasted a number of years.

"I think he needs to relax a little, stay focused and just let things unfold. He's a good player, a high-quality player, but he must stay focused and humble."

Ricketts also called upon Bailey and his father and agent Craig Butler to show more humility in order to resolve the dispute.

"It's very unfortunate, we hope both Leon and Mr. Butler will be just a little bit humbler and try deal with things in the correct way," he said. "You cannot be making demands of a national association, and that goes for Leon too.

"You represent the country, you cannot be making demands, 'you must do this in order for my son to play. We don't want to go down that route, it would be setting the wrong precedent. We have to remain professional in whatever we do."