John Peacock: All eyes on Young Lions ahead of final

Tuesday 20 May 2014
Markus Stekelenburg and John Peacock address media
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John Peacock and Markus Stekelenburg are predicting that the European Under-17 Championship final between their respective England and Holland sides will be one for neutrals to savour.

The two national coaches were speaking at the UEFA pre-match press conference in Mellieha on Tuesday afternoon ahead of the showpiece on Wednesday.

“We are delighted to be here,” Peacock said. “It’s always a challenge to get to the final when you are up against eight quality teams in this competition.

England v Holland

UEFA European U17 Championship
The Final
6pm, Wednesday 21 May 2014
Ta’Qali National Stadium, Malta
Live on Eurosport


“I think there are two very good teams in the final, and two attacking teams. I would expect that it will be a real good game of football.”

Stekelenburg echoed his opponent’s sentiments.

“We’ve looked at it game by game and here we are in the final. We have enjoyed our time here and I think it will be a great game.

“England have a very strong squad, Netherlands have a very strong squad, so we are looking forward to a great final.”

The Dutch coach said that his squad go in to game with a clean bill of health, although Peacock revealed that it will be touch and go whether Newcastle United striker Adam Armstrong will have recovered from injury to line-up at the Ta’Qali National Stadium.

“It’s still ongoing. Adam has an issue with his ankle - we managed that yesterday. It’s not an ideal situation but we will manage that and see how he is tomorrow.”

Peacock, who won the tournament with England in 2010, says he has been impressed with the Dutch team – but says no matter what the outcome is on Wednesday, the experience gained by his side in Malta will be invaluable for their progress.

“Holland have done well over the last few years, especially this age group, and they are doing exceptionally well in their development work,” he said.

“Back in England it is the same, and reaching this final will give everybody a lift. That’s the biggest plus point. Reaching this stage is a massive achievement for these players and will be a massive experience.”

He added: “You hope someday that these players will go on to bigger and better things. The World Cup is just around the corner, and we have experiences of players that have come through our system and are now ready to play a part in Brazil, and I think that is what it is all about.

“To give them this experience and immense challenge now can only stand them in good stead for the future.”

England v Holland is live on Eurosport at 6pm on Wednesday. Follow @FA for updates on Twitter.

By Gary Stonehouse Staff Writer in Malta