It has been widely reported in the last few days that Leon Bailey is eligible to play for England and could be called up by Gareth Southgate for this summer’s World Cup.
Bailey, the Bayer Leverkusen starlet, is one of the most highly-rated youngsters in world football, and he has been linked with a host of European giants including Manchester United, Chelsea and Bayern Munich .
This suggestion that he could play for the Three Lions has got fans excited; understandably, given his incredible talents.
But, we hate to say, the suggestion is false.
Bailey cannot and will never play for England on the international football stage.
The report claims Bailey is eligible for England due to two of his grandparents holding British passports, but even if they do hold passports that is still not enough to suit FIFA regulations.
To play for any one of the Home Nations, a player must have either have been born, or have a biological parent or biological grandparent born on the territory of the relevant association. This law was laid down in 1993 at Hanbury Manor in Hertfordshire, when the associations of all four national teams in the UK met.
Therefore, Bailey’s grandparents simply possessing British passports is not enough for the 20-year-old to play for England.
They would have had to have been born in England, which, according to the user Athlone on TheReggaeBoyz , is not the case.
It is explained that Bailey does not have a English-born parent nor English-born grandparent, which means he does not qualify for England via the ancestry route.
Other reports suggest Bailey is also eligible to represent Belgium, Malta and Germany.
He could only qualify for Belgium and Germany on residency rules, though he would have to spend at least five continuous years in the former (he first moved there in 2015), and eight continuous years in the latter (he first moved there in 2017).
He has probably already broken the rules for Belgium seeing as he moved to Bayer Leverkusen in 2017, and is unlikely to still reside permanently in Belgium.
If he intends to play for the German national team, Bailey will not be allowed to sign for another club outside the country until 2025 - when he will have reached eight consecutive years of residency.
England does not accept players on the residency rule, so even if Bailey moves to England and spends his entire career here, he will never qualify for the Three Lions via this route.
In relation to Malta, Bailey has absolutely no links to anything or anyone in Malta that makes him a player qualified for the European minnows.
Bailey can only represent Jamaica right now, and that will be the case unless he fulfils the residency rules for either Belgium or Germany.
So, no; Leon Bailey cannot play for England.