Peacock: Red a blemish - but we're ready for next test

Saturday 25 Oct 2014
John Peacock led the U17s to Euro glory in 2010 and 2014
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John Peacock admits Reece Oxford’s sending-off put a slight blemish on his afternoon – but he is already looking forward to his side’s next ”big test”.

His England U17s side kicked off their European Championship qualifying campaign with a thumping 4-1 victory over host nation Cyprus on Saturday as a hat-trick from Layton Ndukwu and a Marcus Edwards strike sealed the three points.

And although the head coach was delighted to kick off with a win, he admitted the late red for Oxford put something off a dampener on the contest.

Cyprus 1-4 England

UEFA U17 Championship
First Qualifying Round
Saturday 25 October 2014
Kouklia Community Stadium, Paphos

Peacock said: “I thought we got off to a good start and got an early goal which is always helpful.

“I thought we went about it in the right manor and controlled the game from start to finish. We needed to be a bit more clinical in the final third, which we talked about at half-time, but it was a good reaction in the second half.”

He continued: “Everything was going really well, but the last minute has put a bit of a dampener on it. I was disappointed with the way in which we conceded the penalty, and more importantly losing Reece for the next game is a blow.”

But one man’s loss is another’s gain, and Peacock says this is where other members of his squad have to step up to the plate with the West Ham United defender facing suspension.

He added: “I keep drumming into the players that this tournament won’t be a success with only 11 players – it will take a full 18. I’m a big advocate of the squad and team ethic, and I trust all the players.

“These things happen and it opens the door for somebody else.”

And if his squad need an example of someone taking their chance, then they need look no further than three-goal hotshot Ndukwu.

“I’m delighted for Layton,” said Peacock. “We had a few set-backs with injuries to strikers that meant we couldn’t select them, so I said to him at the beginning of the week I was prepared to put him down as the striker.

“I have seen qualities in him in that respect - he took his goals really well. He worked very hard and he will be pleased with his contribution – I’m really pleased for him.”

In the other group match France ran out 3-0 victors over Macedonia, and with England facing the latter on Monday the head coach is expecting another tough test.

He said: “We’ll start to plan for Macedonia from tonight onwards. They come quick and fast these games, but getting off to a good start was key.

“Now, the second game is vitally important, and it won’t be an easy game.

“Monday will be another big test for us, but it is one we are all looking forward to.”

By Gary Stonehouse Staff Writer in Paphos