John Peacock: Confident ahead of European U17 final
England’s U17 side will play Holland in the European Championship final in Malta on Wednesday and manager John Peacock is confident of winning the tournament for the second time in four years.
Peacock was at the helm of an England U17 team, which included Everton’s Ross Barkley and Connor Wickham of Sunderland, when they won the competition back in 2010.
England beat Portugal 2-0 on Sunday thanks to goals from Dominic Solanke and Patrick Roberts, and Peacock is optimistic of overturning the 2-0 defeat to the Dutch five days ago.
Peacock told Sky Sports News: “We’re confident. The experiences this team have gone through have been very positive.
“We started the campaign back in October and we’ve now actually won nine of our 10 qualifying games, the one game we did lose was against the Dutch.
“Both teams had qualified by then so it was a chance for me to give players who hadn’t had a start a chance to play.
“I think we had enough players on the day to do a job but unfortunately on that day it wasn’t enough, but it didn’t damage us, we were in the semi-final anyway and tomorrow’s another game so we’re just waiting to see what unfolds.”
Portugal hit the frame of England’s goal three times before Solanke’s opener and Peacock added: “We started really well against the Portuguese.
“We told them at half-time about things that needed to change to move the ball quicker, be more positive and I have to say in the second half I thought they were excellent.”
“The first 10, 12 minutes I thought we did really well, then we had 20 minutes when things worked against us.
“Yeah, we rode our luck a few times but that’s the little bit of luck you need sometimes. We told them at half-time about things that needed to change to move the ball quicker, be more positive and I have to say in the second half I thought they were excellent.
“In the end we got two fantastic goals and dug deep and that’s the difference in teams that reach the final and teams that don’t sometimes.”
The U17 boss admitted that his teenagers would need a lot of luck to progress into the England senior team in the future but could take encouragement from former under-age stars Barkley and Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere.
He said: “I like to think that there’s some very good players coming through. Ross Barkley, who’s going to the World Cup, was with me three or four years ago, so that’s great.
“The likes of Stoke’s Jack Butland and several others that are now playing for the U21s, that have been around the system for a few years.
“Getting these experiences of European finals, World Cups, under 17 years of age, under 19 years of age, all these experiences and challenges stand them in good stead and we do know that to get to the senior team is a really, very difficult task.
“But some have done it, so it’s great for these young players to see the likes of Barkley, Wilshere and a few others who have played in these U17 finals the last few years, who have gone on to do bigger and better things.”