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Bailey Peacock-Farrell was subject of Manchester City interest before fee scuppered chance of a deal, reveals scout

 

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Bailey Peacock-Farrell

Bailey Peacock-Farrell

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Bailey Peacock-Farrell

Bailey Peacock-Farrell was on Manchester City's radar - but they didn't pursue their interest because he would have broken the club's Academy budget.

The Northern Ireland No.1 impressed City legend and club scout Joe Corrigan so much as a promising teenager at Leeds United that he recommended him to be part of their Elite Development Squad.

But a club that was spending huge sums on the first-team squad had capped their much-vaunted Academy budget and were scared off by the prospect of paying a sizeable transfer fee.

"His father is a friend of my son's and I met him at a couple of golf events," says former England international Corrigan, who played over 500 games for City between 1967-1983.

"I went over and watched him in a couple of games and quickly realised he was a promising lad. This would have been four or five years ago and he was already highly-rated by Leeds and in their reserve team.

"My job is to find goalkeepers for the Academy and I had Bailey in mind for the Elite Development Squad, but we knew at City that we would have to pay a lot of money for him. With options in that position and with it likely to break the budget, it didn't happen."

Despite City cooling their interest, Corrigan has continued to follow Peacock-Farrell's progress and, despite a lack of first-team chances, believes Burnley is at the right club for him to continue to improve even though, over a year on from his £2.5m move from Leeds, he is still to make his debut.

And the former Liverpool goalkeeping coach says it takes a special player to continue to perform at a high level for his country without regular competitive action for his club.

"In my day, if you were not playing for the first team you were in the reserves so you played," adds the 71-year-old.

"I learned my trade in the Central League and when I was dropped I went back there but now it has all changed because it doesn't exist.

"It seems that, just now at least, Bailey is getting that experience with his country, which is better than nothing but not ideal.

"The payback at top-flight clubs is that Bailey will play against top-class players in practice games and in training but, let me tell you, playing competitive games is nothing like playing in training games.

"You have got to be someone really special who can sit on the bench and play just three (club) games a season. You have to be right on song when you get your chance in the first team."

Corrigan says he's surprised that Peacock-Farrell has not tasted first-team action out on loan, particularly last term when he was third choice behind Nick Pope and Joe Hart.

Veteran Hart left Turf Moor when his contract expired in June and Peacock-Farrell was promoted to No.2 behind Pope, who has attracted interest from Chelsea.

"Somebody out there wants a goalkeeper of his calibre on loan," he insists. "Now if it was me and I had a young keeper at my club, I would be looking to get him out on loan as early as possible to improve his experience.

"It all depends on the circumstances of the club but, in an ideal world, I am sure the manager would have wanted him to get that experience so when he comes back he has that in his bag."

Even so, Corrigan backs new Northern Ireland boss Ian Baraclough to continue picking Peacock-Farrell after what the new international chief called a string of "world-class saves" in a heroic draw in Romania last week, while being faultless for the heavy defeat by Norway three days later.

"With regards to the player, it's the new manager's opinion that counts," he adds.

"If the manager has confidence in the boy then I don't have a problem with it.

"It is his job that is on the line and the boy can only do what he can. He has not let himself down in any of the Northern Ireland games I've seen recently."

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