John Peacock will be hoping to mark a decade in charge of England with his eighth UEFA European Under-17 Championship finals appearance in Slovenia in May but to do so he must get past the nation his side beat to win the tournament in 2010 and qualify again last year, Spain. Ukraine and hosts Georgia also await in Group 3 from 26 March, and Peacock – whose team lost in the 2011 semi-finals to the Netherlands but beat the holders in this season's qualifying round, has confidence of more success.
UEFA.com: Was it important to win against the Netherlands in the qualifying round?
Peacock: Yes, we played the Netherlands in the last game, and obviously we'd both qualified going into the game. It was a rerun really of the semi-final last year. The Dutch are always tough opposition and it was a good benchmark for us to see where we were. Although we'd both qualified, we were both really trying to go for a positive result. And on the day we just managed to win the game 1-0. But that's gone now. What's important is that in the elite round, we go with the sort of same determination to try and top the group, to try and get to the finals in Slovenia.
UEFA.com: You've done well at this level recently. Does that give more confidence to the next generation coming through, or does it put a little bit of pressure on them to reach that level again?
Peacock: There's always an expectation, whether you're in England or within Europe, that England are producing some good teams, and I think we are. The important thing is to try and make sure we produce some strength in depth in terms of the squad. It's no good just having a squad of 18 and then you get injuries and withdrawals. We need a stronger depth in players and I think we're beginning to get that. But in terms of putting pressure on: no, we just have to take each age group as it comes. And consistently over the last several years we've done quite well. So the clubs are producing some good players and that's important.
We have to work closely with the clubs and obviously it's the quality of the product that's coming out that is helping us now to have some success internationally.
UEFA: How valuable was the experience at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico last summer?
Peacock: It was a great experience. I am fortunate that's my second World Cup, having done the one in Korea in 2007. It's a great experience, not just for the coaches, but the players, importantly, it's a great learning curve. You know, you can be together for 30, 31 days, living together 24/7, playing opposition you wouldn't normally come across – African and South American teams. All round it's a fantastic occasion and we all got enormous benefits out of that and fully enjoyed it. Let's hope we can do some more in the future.
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