John Peacock urges U17s to savour every moment in Chile

Wednesday 20 May 2015
England Under-17s boss John Peacock

John Peacock has urged his players to savour every moment of the U17s World Cup, after his Young Lions secured qualification for the showpiece on Tuesday.

England booked their place after defeating Spain 5-3 on penalties following a goalless draw in Sliven, with sub keeper Will Huffer proving an unlikely hero. 

The Leeds United stopper came off the bench late on for the injured Paul Woolston, and made a vital stop from the spot to seal their spot at October’s tournament in Chile.


Marcus Edwards celebrates after scoring against Ireland

“Chile is going to be special,” Peacock told 

“It will be my third World Cup and from my point of view I’m really looking forward to it. 

"More importantly I’m really happy for the players. It’s going to be their first experience. I've told them what they can expect and now they can live it.

“Hopefully we can make a good account of ourselves when we get there.”

Peacock and his side have been together in Bulgaria for the past fortnight competing in the U17s European Championship. 

Several of his players have been undertaking GCSE exams during that period – including the man of the moment Huffer.

The Leeds United goalkeeper had not featured during the four games prior to the Spain clash, but Peacock always believed he would have a part to play.

England U17s ahead of their World Cup qualification play-off against Spain

John Peacock's U17s will travel to Chile for the World Cup in October

“I’m massive on the squad mentality and that everyone will play a part at some point. 

"Some more than others, but even when you just get a couple of minutes like Will had, you can still make a massive impact.

“All those exams that he has had with no minutes on the football pitch, but then he gets those few minutes of glory. 

“He’s been smiling and we’ve told him to enjoy it all and the experience. It’s a fantastic story.”

“That’s more than the lads deserve for the work and performances they have produced out here”

John Peacock on World Cup qualification

Qualification for the World Cup means a week that began with disappointment for the Young Lions after they were knocked out of the Euros by Russia in the quarter-finals ends on a high.

But with a trip to South America to look forward too, Peacock says it is nothing more than his side have deserved.

“A few days ago we were all bitterly disappointed – I feel this team was at least a semi-final side. 

"We’ve played really well in our time in Bulgaria, but three goals in five games tells its own story and we needed to be a bit more clinical.

“We held a very good Spanish side, but they also had problems dealing with us. 

"It was a very tight affair and it is just sad in a respect that one of us had to go out in a penalty shoot-out. But I’m delighted it’s wasn't us and we’ve secured a World Cup place.

“That’s more than the lads deserve for the work and performances they have produced out here.”

By Gary Stonehouse Staff Writer In Bulgaria