England 'monitoring' Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey, says Gareth Southgate

Leon Bailey scored a fine goal
Image: Leon Bailey has been in superb form for Bayer Leverkusen this season

Gareth Southgate has confirmed he is keeping a close eye on Bayer Leverkusen starlet Leon Bailey, who is eligible to represent England.

The pacey winger has been a standout player for Leverkusen since joining the club in a £13m deal from Belgian side Genk on Transfer Deadline Day in January 2017.

The 20-year-old has scored nine goals and chipped in with five assists in 22 Bundesliga matches this season, helping fourth-placed Leverkusen's charge for Champions League qualification.

Like Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling, Bailey is born in the Jamaican capital of Kingston, and although he has played for the country's U23 side, he is eligible to play for England due to two of his grandparents holding British passports.

"Well, I'd have to say until a few months ago we had no indication that he was eligible for England," Southgate told BBC Radio5Live.

1:03
England manager Gareth Southgate says his team must be able to perform without Harry Kane who is currently injured with ankle ligament damage

"That's still a process that is ongoing and now that issue has been flagged, he's somebody we'll monitor more closely.

"But that's more for our talent identification department at this stage than it is for my selection in the short term."

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Scotland manager Alex McLeish says Scott McTominay has a 'massive future' with Scotland after the Manchester United midfielder received his first call-up.

Meanwhile, Southgate has wished Scott McTominay all the best after the Lancaster-born Manchester United midfielder pledged his international allegiance to Scotland earlier this month.

The England boss said: "What became apparent before I had the chance to speak with him in particular, I was going to Manchester United anyway, he had made his mind up that Scotland were keen for him to play for them and he feels Scottish.

"You have to absolutely respect that decision. I think international football has to be a decision of the heart so we wish him well with that."

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