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I won't let international critics affect my career, vows Northern Ireland stopper Peacock-Farrell

 

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In motion: Northern Ireland keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell pulls off a wonderful save to deny Bulgaria’s Dimitar Iliev

In motion: Northern Ireland keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell pulls off a wonderful save to deny Bulgaria’s Dimitar Iliev

In motion: Northern Ireland keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell pulls off a wonderful save to deny Bulgaria’s Dimitar Iliev

Northern Ireland goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell has insisted it will take a lot more than the criticism he received after last week's World Cup qualifier in Italy to knock his career off track.

The 24-year-old came in for some stick after allowing Ciro Immobile's shot past him at the near post as Italy won 2-0 in Parma but responded in the best possible fashion by pulling off a stunning save to prevent Bulgaria scoring an injury-time winner in Wednesday's Group C clash at Windsor Park.

The wonderful stop, keeping out a goal-bound header from substitute Dimitar Iliev, earned Ian Baraclough's team a point in the 0-0 draw when they should have claimed all three to kick-start their campaign.

What made Peacock-Farrell's heroics even more impressive was the fact that he barely had anything to do during the previous 90 minutes, such was the dominance of the home side, who consistently failed to make promising positions count.

The Burnley goalkeeper said: "We created a lot of chances but it was just one of those nights where it wasn't falling for us. There were deflections, shots blocked, we hit the bar and on another night that could have been two or three.

"Obviously I was called upon late on and I was happy to make the save.

"I'm still in the game, I'm talking, I'm organising and I'm playing out from the back and keeping a high line, so I'm engaged in that sense. But going pretty much 90 minutes without making a save, it's difficult, but that's sometimes how it is."

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On dealing and coping with the flak that came his way following the loss to Italy, Peacock-Farrell stated: "It's just being sure of yourself and knowing what you can do personally.

"It can be difficult with any young player who is dealing with that but it would take a lot more than that to try and affect me and knock me in any way.

"Obviously as a keeper mistakes are punished more.

"That goal summed up goalkeeping. You make a save like the one against Bulgaria and you let one in last week.

"It's just how it is."

Peacock-Farrell revealed that during the international camp Michael McGovern and Trevor Carson, missing through injury, were in touch to offer encouragement and support.

He added that he enjoyed working with Roy Carroll, who was drafted in as goalkeeping coach in the absence of Steve Harper.

Ironically, 43-year-old Carroll, with Dungannon Swifts, has played more first-team football lately than Peacock-Farrell and the other young goalkeepers -Celtic's Conor Hazard and Liverpool's Liam Hughes - in the international squad this time around.

At Turf Moor, former Leeds ace Peacock-Farrell is behind Nick Pope, who played for England against Poland this week.

"Not playing at club level is obviously not great but I have an amazing goalkeeper in front of me who is keeping that spot, and that's what it is at the moment," said the Northern Ireland player.

"I've learned a lot in the two years I've been at Burnley.

"Nick does some incredible things and it's those things I want to learn from in terms of what he does on and off the pitch.

"He's certainly up there in the top five in the Premier League.

"His ability is amazing, the shots he saves, the crosses he comes out for; he really is a top, top keeper.

"Popey had to wait for his chance. The gaffer (Sean Dyche) told him when he first came to the club, and when I first signed we had a meeting and the gaffer said the same thing to me.

"Certainly as a goalkeeper you have to wait for the opportunity because it's not a position which changes that often.

"You just have to wait and be patient, and Popey certainly did that and now it's paid off for him."

Quizzed on whether he would consider his future at Burnley in the summer if opportunities remain limited, Peacock-Farrell said: "No decision has to be made. Football can be crazy and anything can happen at any minute. It's just a case of doing what I can do and affecting what I can affect and see what happens."

Without regular club football, the Darlington-born stopper relishes the Northern Ireland fixtures.

"It's certainly something I look forward to, and to have the number of games I have so far certainly helps keep the morale high for myself," he said.

"I enjoy coming away, still being able to play international football even though I'm not playing much club football.

"There is no real pressure other than the pressure I put on myself to perform."

While Peacock-Farrell is still relatively new to the international scene having made his debut in 2018, captain Steven Davis now has 126 appearances for Northern Ireland, making him the UK's most-capped player.

"To have Steven in the squad is remarkable. To have that amount of games is something to aspire to," said the Burnley man.

"Any game at international level is amazing, and to do what he's done over an extended period of time is top class and to have him around inspires us."

Baraclough was certainly relieved his No.1 clutched a draw from the jaws of a defeat.

"That is why he is in the goals," he said.

"He has had to concentrate for 88 minutes without anything to do and you have to come up with a save like that and he has produced it, and we are talking about a different result because of that because we fell asleep from a set-piece."


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