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Maik Taylor: Northern Ireland's Bailey Peacock-Farrell could make it in the Premier League

 

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Bailey Peacock-Farrell

Bailey Peacock-Farrell

Bailey Peacock-Farrell

Northern Ireland great Maik Taylor is convinced that Bailey Peacock-Farrell has what it takes to make it in the Premier League.

Taylor says that, while the Burnley goalkeeper had no chance with any of the goals in last Monday's 5-1 drubbing at home to Norway, his spectacular performance in the 1-1 Nations League opener in Romania showed why the 23-year-old can be a top-flight star in the future.

At the moment, Peacock-Farrell has to settle for being understudy to Nick Pope, who many believe is England's best goalkeeper. Whether or not the ex-Leeds ace gets game time with the Turf Moor side this term remains to be seen and, while he would like to see him have more appearances at club level, Taylor feels he is ready for life in the big time.

"The Romania match showed what Bailey is all about," says Windsor Park favourite Taylor, who won 88 caps.

"I thought his overall performance was magnificent and some of the saves he pulled off were world-class.

"Bailey has always had a presence in goal but what really impressed me in that game was how sharp he looked throughout and the different types of stops he made.

"With the quality of finishing from Norway and in particular Erling Haaland, who is already a world beater at just 20, Bailey couldn't have prevented any of their goals but he was sensational in Romania and I was so pleased for him."

Now a goalkeeping coach with League Two Walsall, when fulfilling that role with Northern Ireland, Taylor played a crucial part in Peacock-Farrell's early international development, working on his keeping skills and helping him adapt to a new environment

After previous boss Michael O'Neill and his chief Irish FA scout Andy Cousins had identified the Darlington-lad's eligibility through the grandparent rule, Taylor went to watch and chat with the goalkeeper when he was on loan at York from Leeds.

"It was a rough old night and there were a couple of goals that Bailey may have thought he could have done better with but even seeing him that evening, I thought at a higher level he could do really well and when he was first brought into the Northern Ireland squad, his potential was clear," the ex-Birmingham City and Fulham hero adds.

"When that match was over, I had a chat with him to say that we were all behind him and, not long after that, there were some injuries at Leeds and he went back from his loan spell and suddenly found himself in the first team and was there until Marcelo Bielsa took over.

"He got a move to Burnley and has continued to develop and now for Northern Ireland he is ahead of both Michael (McGovern) and Trevor (Carson), who themselves are good goalkeepers.

"I may be away from the Northern Ireland set-up but I still wish the lads well and sent Bailey a message for the Nations League games.

"He is a good guy with so much talent. My own personal belief is that he is more than capable of playing in the Premier League but I don't know if he is going to get the chance with Nick Pope the current No.1 at Burnley.

"Ideally, I would like to see him play more first-team football because that experience is vital but if he is No.2 at Burnley, I can't see him being sent out on loan. With Bailey's ability, he is a very good No.2 and with Pope's quality, they have two excellent goalkeepers."

Taylor, meanwhile, feels that Northern Ireland can rise to the occasion in next month's Euro 2020 Play-Off Semi-Final in Bosnia despite the Norway hammering.

"The Bosnia game is the one we want to win," he says.

"With a full-strength side, I think we will be a different proposition in Bosnia."

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