Peacock ready for Euro challenge
By Nicholas Veevers
Wednesday, 26 October, 2011
Head Coach prepares new batch for Latvia game.
England U17s get their European Championship campaign underway on Wednesday evening when they face Latvia in Sarajevo in the first game of the First Qualifying Round.
John Peacock’s side are in a group of four teams, which also includes host nation Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Netherlands and face three games over the next five days before this round is concluded.
And if the Young Lions squad finish first or second in the group, then that will be enough to take them through to next year’s Elite Qualifying Round.
It has been a good start to the season for the U17s too, as they won August’s International Tournament on home soil by beating Italy and Portugal and still topped the group despite a narrow and unfortunate reverse against Czech Republic.
This is where competitive international football begins for these players though and with many of them having already sampled life with England in the U16 and U17 squad at events such as the Victory Shield, Montaigu Tournament or Nordic Tournament, this is now the next step-up for them.
“It’s always a new experience for the players to cope with, coming away to a UEFA competition,” said Peacock.
“The U17s is a Championship year, so this is the first time they will have come up against other nations in a competitive sense and we’re looking forward to it.”
Peacock has enjoyed a little success at this level over the last few years, taking the squad of 2010 to the European Championship title before last season’s group reached the Euro semi-finals and then the World Cup quarter finals.
“The experience that these players can get from competing at the final stages of the Euros is something that will stay with them throughout their careers,” he explained.
“This is why it’s an important part of their development as footballers and also as a team.”