A point against Serbia would ensure England are seeded for Elite draw
UEFA European U17 Championship
First Qualifying Round
11am (GMT), Saturday 31 October 2009
Click here for the First Qualifying Round results and table
With two wins from two First Qualifying Round matches, John Peacock has taken England just one step away from another appearance at the UEFA European U17 Championship.
His young charges defeated Kazakhstan 6-2 on Monday before racing to a 4-0 victory over Azarbaijan two days later, guaranteeing them a spot in next year’s Elite Round. They complete the first phase of qualifying against Serbia on Saturday.
“I’m pleased with the two wins,” Peacock reflected.
“Most of these players have been together for about a year now, since the U16, but where last year gave them a flavour of international football, with a European Championship to qualify for, this year is all about breaking into that starting eleven and staying there.
“I managed to make three substitutions on Monday and another three substitutions against Azerbaijan so everybody has now played at least half a match which I’m absolutely delighted about.
“With the Serbia game on Saturday, I’ll now have to pick a team which will hopefully allow us to top the group."
The U17s have scored ten goals in two matches and although Peacock is happy with their productivity in front of goal, he has urged his team to stay focused for the entire game.
“Against Kazakhstan, although it was great to get six goals, we let in a couple of cheap goals and I think that’s a lesson for the boys that they have to learn to manage the game better and not get complacent.
“I told them at half-time that conceding goals like that is not good enough if they want to compete in the European Finals next year.
“And to be fair to them, they scored four goals against Azerbaijan but made sure they didn’t concede and that was particularly pleasing. If anything we should have won the game by more, but they’ve made it through to the Elite Round with a game to spare, so I’m more delighted with that.”
A point against Serbia on Saturday would see England finish top of the group and ensure they are seeded for the Elite Round draw.
“We seem to play Serbia every year now and it’s always a very tough and competitive match and I expect no different on Saturday, particularly considering they need to beat us to top the group. But we have to make sure that we’re ready for it and then we can look ahead to the Algarve Tournament early next year."