Wed | Dec 6, 2023

The Bailey bridge - Downswell says big international performance could be catalyst for young forward

Published:Tuesday | June 4, 2019 | 12:00 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer

Jamaica Football Federation technical director, Wendell Downswell, said a good international debut for Bayer Leverkusen star Leon Bailey could be a big boost to the player’s career, as well as the national senior team.

Bailey, who has been the root of many local football debates because of his reluctance to represent the country since he emerged a few seasons ago, has softened his stance in recent times and has been included in Theodore ‘Tappa’ Whitmore’s 23-man Concacaf Gold Cup squad.

Downswell believes an impressive debut from the former Phoenix All Stars player could be what the footballer, who had a below-par season in the German Bundesliga, needs.

“A quality performance would give him a clear pathway to make the transition and create that impact at the international level, and if he is able to do that, it will speaks a lot for him from an individual standpoint,” Downswell reasoned.

“The quality he possesses, he now gets an opportunity at the international level, and we will be quite upbeat and looking to showcase his talent. If he is able to do what he does in the international arena when he goes back to his club as an international player, that will speak volumes, as this is what players at that level look forward to – playing for their country and going back to their respective clubs,” he said.


The technical director also likes the composition of Whitmore’s squad, which includes an impressive array of goalscorers such as Bailey, Dever Orgill, Darren Mattocks, Brian Brown and Shamar Nicholson (all locally bred), and young local stars Tyreek Magee, Alex Marshall and Jamoi Topey. He said this augurs well for the team in the short and medium term.

“It’s a long time we haven’t had something like this, such an impressive forward line,” Downswell said. “If they can get that synergy as it relates to the team playing together with the midfield, we can say on paper that we have some quality goalscorers. Because these are proven goalscorers. So it’s a step in the right direction as it relates to the coach and his selections. It’s just for them (players), having got the opportunity now, to make the best use of the opportunity and remain focused, steadfast and enhance their development,” he said.

Jamaica will face the United States at the Audi Field in Washington, DC, tomorrow at 6 p.m.