Peacock lauds his Young Lions
Saturday, 23 October, 2010
Head Coach delighted with qualification to Elite Round.
by Glenn Lavery
John Peacock praised his England U17 team after they progressed to the Elite Qualifying Round for next summer’s European Championship.
Blair Turgott’s 61st-minute strike handed the Young Lions a deserved victory over Poland in their last First Round Qualifier, giving them seven points from their three group games, after a 3-0 win over Sweden and a 1-1 draw with Georgia earlier in the week.
“They have played very well over the last three games,” said Peacock, summarising England’s Group 3 campaign.
“It’s been a great education for all the players in what I felt was the strongest groups we’ve faced at this stage of the competition for quite some time.
“We got off to a great start against Sweden on Monday and played some really good football and we started the Georgia game very well, too. The players had to deal with a partisan home crowd which they probably hadn’t experienced before and I thought they coped with it admirably. And, to be fair, it was one-way traffic against Poland and we were really good value for the win.”
For 17 of Peacock’s 18-man squad (captain Nathaniel Chalobah being the exception), this was their maiden experience of a UEFA qualifying tournament and Peacock said he was delighted to have topped the group unbeaten, especially given the calibre of the opposition.
This group of players have largely been together since The Victory Shield campaign last season and they enjoyed success in two friendly tournaments at the beginning of this campaign – the Nordic Tournament and The FA International U17 Tournament. But the Head Coach congratulated his players on how they have adapted to competitive international football.
“We made a good start to the season with some tough games and I think that helped us out here in Georgia,” he said.
“But those games came in friendly tournaments; this is different. You have to qualify for the next stage of the Euros and that brings with it a new kind of pressure for the boys and they can be proud of themselves for what they’ve achieved.”