Belfast Telegraph

Bailey Peacock Farrell tipped for big future after top display against Germany

Northern Ireland's goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell delivered an inspired performance against Germany.
Northern Ireland's goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell delivered an inspired performance against Germany.
Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

Northern Ireland's players left the Windsor Park pitch with their reputations enhanced on Monday evening, but perhaps none more-so than Bailey Peacock-Farrell.

The 22-year-old goalkeeper won his 11th cap in the 2-0 defeat to Germany and produced his best display so far.

What a difference a year makes.

There had, after his first couple of caps, been question-marks over his readiness to step up to international football.

On his competitive debut, he was criticised by former Arsenal defender Lee Dixon for being 'scared' to put his body on the line in the build-up to Bosnia & Herzegovinia's winner.

One year and one day later, he was arguably his country's star man in a hugely-impressive performance against the 2014 World Cup winners.

He produced a string of impressive saves, not least when he was at full stretch to get a fingertip to Timo Werner's low drive, destined for the bottom corner, having earlier won a one-on-one with the RB Leipzig forward.

"Bailey played very well," said boss Michael O'Neill.

"He's a young goalkeeper with not a lot of experience and hasn't played club first team minutes for six months. He knows himself his kicking could have been better in the first half. He knows where he needs to improve but this was a big night for him. He made some big saves at important times and he's going to be a big goalkeeper for us going forward."

Peacock-Farrell moved to Burnley in the summer but, behind both Nick Pope and Joe Hart in the pecking order, immediate senior football looks optimistic at best.

While he 'couldn't turn down' the chance to work with the two England internationals, it was a move that meant none of Michael O'Neill's senior goalkeepers is playing senior action at club level, with Trevor Carson (Motherwell) and Michael McGovern (Norwich) also out of favour.

"Hopefully we see Bailey playing club first team football soon or there's a pathway there for him to become a first-team goalkeeper because it's difficult to come and play games of this nature if you're not playing regularly," warned O'Neill.

Whether he does or not, it looks like the boss will have little option but to keep faith with the former Leeds man.

And after Monday evening's display, few world argue with that.

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