'Bailey not ready to commit to a national team' - Leverkusen star's father downplays England reports

Leon Bailey Bayer Leverkusen 2017-18
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Despite rumours the winger could make the Three Lions' World Cup squad, his father believes he is merely keeping his options open

Leon Bailey is not ready to fully commit his international future to one country, according to the Bayer Leverkusen winger's father and agent Craig Butler.

The 20-year-old wide player was being tipped as a possible surprise inclusion in England's 23-man squad squad for the World Cup just hours before Gareth Southgate announced his panel, but did not make the cut.

Jamaica-born Bailey's international eligibility has been the subject of much discussion, with Butler previously claiming that  he is prepared to wait until he can qualify for Germany via residency rules after it was revealed he was ineligible to line out for England .

Bailey has only played one friendly game for Jamaica's Under-23 side, meaning he is not tied to the country of his birth at senior level. As a result, he could eventually play for a different country if he resides there for long enough. This ruling does not apply to any of the home nations, ruling a possible future qualification for England out.

However, Butler insists that his omission from Southgate's squad was a decision himself and his son took rather than the fact their hand was forced by FIFA rules.

"It's not that he didn't make it," Butler told Goal .

"I didn't supply them with the info they requested yet because we are not sure we are ready to commit to a national team yet."

Jamaica tried to call up Bailey as well as the Leverkusen player's brother Kyle Butler in March, but saw the duo reject the invite due to perceived failings with the set-up of the Jamaican Football Federation (JFF).

Craig Butler urged his sons to focus on their club careers after the JFF refused to engage with him on implementing new structures for the development of home-based players.

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"I have offered to show the JFF what I have learned from Belgium, Holland, Germany and even Slovakia on how to build a national program and fix the Jamaican football culture, but the JFF has refused to listen," he told Goal in March

"Therefore, at this time, the boys will focus on their club careers."

Bailey's club career has taken off in 2017-18 as he contributed nine goals and six assists for Bayer Leverkusen to help them qualify for the Europa League. His form has not gone unnoticed at club level, with Manchester City weighing up a summer move for him .