'Fulfil the potential'
Glenn Lavery in Schaan
Monday, 17 May, 2010
John Peacock urges his side to do themselves justice at the Euros.
UEFA European U17 Championship
Tuesday 18 May - Sunday 30 May 2010
Group A France, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland
Group B England, Czech Republic, Greece, Turkey
In Liechtenstein on Tuesday evening John Peacock will lead his sixth England team into the Finals of the UEFA European U17 Championship and he said he is aiming to “go one better” than in 2007 when his side were beaten in the Final by Spain.
England are one of eight nations that will be vying for European supremacy over the next two weeks and a 100 per cent record in qualifying has led the Czech Republic Head Coach, Jiří Štol, to brand the Young Lions as the tournament favourites. However, despite Peacock’s pleasure at his side’s current form, he refused to embrace the ‘favourites’ tag as he knows there is a lot of football to be played between tomorrow evening and the Final, which will be held on 30 May.
“We did qualify well and that’s a credit to the players,” he said, at the pre-tournament press conference. “But there are five previous winners in this year’s tournament. There are some very good teams in our group and the first hurdle we have to overcome is getting to the semi-final stage and then we’ll see what happens from there.”
England open up their Group B campaign against Czech Republic before taking on Greece on Friday and finally Turkey next Monday but Peacock admits he is not looking beyond Czech Republic, who his side will face in Vaduz.
“We always have very tough games against Czech Republic,” he reflected. “It’s always a good occasion, very keenly contested and I expect no different tomorrow night. When they lost to Georgia in the opening match of the Elite Round it was always going to be tough for them to get through [but] they did it by beating a very good Dutch team in the last game, so we will take them very seriously, as we will every game in the group stage. But, as always, we won’t look much further than this first game because [the first game] is always an important one.
“I think we’ve got a good team of 18 players who all play a very big part in this squad,” continued Peacock. “This is probably the pinnacle of their careers so far and with that comes an added bit of pressure and it will be interesting to see how the players handle that pressure. Hopefully all the players who take to the field will do themselves a lot of credit and I’m sure all of them will have a big part to play.
“We managed to reach the Final on one previous occasion but now we are looking to go one better than that. I’m very pleased with the squad, I just hope that they fulfil the potential that I think is there.”
You can follow the U17s’ European campaign right here on TheFA.com as we will bring you previews before every game, in-depth coverage of each of England’s matches and all the post-match reaction from inside the camp.