Bailey bids to be fit for friendly
Leon Bailey has been named in the 23-player Jamaica squad to tackle hosts USA in next week’s pre-Gold Cup friendly.
The 21-year-old midfielder, whose season with German club Bayer Leverkusen came to an abrupt end because of a hamstring injury, has yet to make his senior international debut.
But the Kingston-born ace could make his first appearance for Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz since his late substitute outing for a U23 friendly against hosts Cayman Islands in 2015 if he wins the battle to be fit.
Head coach Theodore Whitmore has the toough task of trimming his preliminary 40-player squad to 23 for the CONCACAF Gold Cup on 7 June, just one day after the US friendly at Washington DC.
Bailey, who previously turned down the chance to play for the Boyz after accepting a call-up last year, has only bagged five goals this term for Leverkusen due to lack of games.
He is expected to brush aside his recent injury in time for the biennial tournament but may not be back in business on the pitch next week.
Notable absentees from the friendly named in Jamaica’s 40-player preliminary squad are midfielders Daniel Johnson (Preston North End, England) and Ravel Morrison (Östersunds, Sweden) as well as Shamar Nicholson (Domžale, Slovenia). All three are newcomers to the Boyz.
The English-based defensive pair of regulars, Michael Hector (Sheffield Wednesday) and Adrian Mariappa (Watford) are also absent but appear to be rested before the competition.
The Boyz kick-off their bid to reach the final of Gold Cup for the third time on the bounce when they host highly-rated Honduras at Kingston’s National Stadium on 17 June.
And if Bailey can dazzle in Washington then no doubt he will be buzzing when he makes his home debut, and with his undisputed talent has the opportunity to sting opponents in this prestigious tournament.
Jamaica squad: Leon Bailey, Andre Blake, Brian Brown, Maalique Foster, Shaun Francis, Amal Knight, Kevon Lambert, Kemar Lawrence, Andre Lewis, Damion Lowe, Tyreek Magee, Alex Marshall, Darren Mattocks, Tyreek Magee, Dwayne Miller, Ricardo Morris, Shamar Nicholson, Dever Orgill, Alvas Powell, Jamoi Topey, Peter Lee Vassell, Je-Vaughn Watson and Devon Williams.