Reggae Boy and Bayer Leverkusen forward Leon Bailey was the guest on 876Stream’s Instagram live on Saturday and discussed, among other things, his desire to one day play in the English Premier League.
The 22-year-old, who joined Leverkusen for a reported €20 million transfer fee back in 2017, says he believes that he has the ability as well as the maturity to handle the pressure that comes with being a Premier League player. He explained how he had opportunities to do so before but turned down those chances because he felt that he was not ready for the challenge, especially the difficulties young talents face from the British media.
“One of my dreams was always to play in the Premier League and I know that I’m going to do it,” he stated. “But I didn’t want to rush it. It’s very hard to play over in England, especially for young players because you have to know how to handle the media.”
However, he feels now that he has acclimatized himself to the rigorous demands of one of Europe’s top leagues, he is ready for a bigger challenge, perhaps one that lies in the United Kingdom.
“I’ve gotten the experience already. I’ve gotten used to the media. The media has always been there during my five years as a professional football player so far, so I know how to deal with them.”
Perhaps Bailey’s closest football friend knows all too well how difficult the British media can be on young players. Raheem Sterling’s progression over the last five years into one of the world’s best attackers coincided with periods of unabated scrutiny and hidden agendas by the British press.
“I’ve looked up to Raheem from before I was a professional.” He stated. “One of my biggest dreams is to play against him or on the same team as him. We talk a lot and he helps me to understand life and football. He is a real brother to me.”
Bailey also states that he plans out his career in different steps and when he feels like the time is necessary for him to move, he will.
“As for right now, I’ve reached this step in my career and I feel like I need to take a next step soon, so hopefully that will happen,” He explained.
“You can’t be too jumpy, time is the master. Make your performance decide and things will happen. I just do my thing on the field and whichever opportunities come, I see what’s the best for me.”
His Biggest Dream Is To Take Jamaica To The World Cup
One of the steps he referred to, includes taking his nation to the World Cup, which would be Jamaica’s first since 1998. A feat he is very passionate to accomplish, the winger strongly believes that this is possible. Bailey states that the squad is filled with quality and exciting players.
“All of the players have the will and want to work to reach there (the World Cup),” he explained. “Trust me, that would be such an accomplishment for Jamaica and I’ve been thinking about it so much.”
Jamaica’s Senior Men’s National team have yet to commence qualifications for the 2022 World Cup, but if Bailey’s beliefs are shared with the rest of the squad, then there is no reason why this current crop of ‘Boyz’ can’t make a serious push for World Cup qualification.