Leon ready for ‘Office’ debut – Whitmore
National senior team coach, Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore, has described Jamaica's wonder kid, Leon Bailey, as a real team player and has said that the Bayer Leverkusen star is eager to make his Reggae Boyz debut this evening in their opening Group C Gold Cup match at the National Stadium at 8:00.
The much-talked-about Bailey flirted with the national team for more than a year as his adoptive father and agent, Craig Butler, was at the centre of negotiations with the Jamaica Football Federation in efforts to get the country's most prominent professional player to represent the country of his birth.
However, during that period, there was some negative feedback aimed at the player because of his role in the whole stand-off, leaving many to think that the 21-year-old winger would not gel with teammates and would cause disruption in the camp.
But Whitmore said that since joining up with the team before their June 5 friendly against the United States, which Jamaica won 1-0, the Phoenix Academy graduate has shown himself to be a real team player and a very helpful individual.
"We can't question the quality that he has brought to the Jamaica team. He is here to play, and he is comfortable. We have no issue where Leon is concerned," he told STAR Sports.
"Leon is no stranger to us. He has come here (camp), and [he] does what a normal player would do. He is very helpful, and he is a real team player. He tries to get involved in any and every thing. So you can't question his ability on the field, and off it, he's also an excellent kid," Whitemore said.
Although Whitmore did not reveal if Bailey would have a starting role, he said the player was upbeat about making his international debut for the Reggae Boyz inside the 'Office' in front of passionate home fans. "He is looking forward to play tomorrow," he added.
Whitmore pointed out that the Boyz have a number of positives going their way and they want to build on that momentum going into the remainder of the tournament.
"The home advantage should give some boost to us. If we can get all three points, the momentum will take us into the El Salvador and Curacao games, and in any tournament, you want to win your first game because the first game can decide how far you go. But what I have seen from the team over the last few days, if they bring that into the game, I am confident we can get the three points." he said.