Head Coach reflects on warm-up win as World Cup draws nearer.
By James Marshall in Mexico City
England U17 Head Coach John Peacock
was encouraged by his side’s comeback against Ivory Coast on Monday, describing the win as 'a massive learning experience' for his Young Lions. Peacock’s squad
have been preparing for the FIFA Under 17 World Cup in Mexico over the last week and beat the young Elephants 5-4
in the warm-up game, which was played behind closed doors at the training ground of local side Club America.
“It was a very strange game of football and I didn’t expect that score-line," Peacock told TheFA.com after the session.
"I have to say, I was delighted with the first 20 minutes as I thought we played really well, we passed it well, and got into the attacking third with a little bit of quality and we deservedly went two goals up.”
After qualifying for the World Cup in May by reaching the semi-final of the European U17 Championship, where they suffered a disappointing defeat at the hands of Holland
, the Head Coach was complementary about his side’s performance, but indicated there is still room for improvement.
“Obviously after going two goals ahead early on, the opposition are going to want to test you out a bit more," he added.
"After this, we invited pressure onto ourselves by playing the wrong passes at the wrong time and conceded four goals.”
However, Peacock admitted that whilst it was pleasing to get the result, it was more important that everyone in the squad got a game before the tournament kicks-off.
“I have to say it was a real test of character for all of the lads and I am including the whole squad in that," he said. "We dug deep and found it difficult at times, but once we got going in the second-half by getting the third goal, I always thought we had a chance of either drawing the game or winning it.
“I'm pleased with the result in some respects but it wasn’t about the result today, it was about the performance and finding out what our weaknesses are and what we need to improve on.”
The Young Lions squad will now travel north from Mexico City to Pachuca on Wednesday, ahead of their first game against Rwanda on Sunday.
After spending the last week trying to acclimatise to the different altitude and temperature in Central America, Peacock also feels his players are getting used to the differing conditions and are learning and improving with every session:
“It was a massive learning experience for the lads and as long as we learn from it then that’s the important aspect," he explained. "The heat, climate and altitude were big factors that we are trying to come to terms with in a very short space of time.
“I thought we dealt with the climate better on Monday than we did the other day against the Pumas (the squad also played a practice match against the Mexican club's youth side) which I expected, but on the whole it was a real test of character and a massive learning curve for the lads.”