Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill has given hope to Leeds United goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell this week regarding his international future. Northern Ireland take on South Korea during the international break and the Leeds stopper may have hoped to be involved.
On this occasion there was no call-up for the Leeds goalie. But, as quoted by the Belfast Telegraph, he is set for a long-term future in the national team set-up:
“Conor Hazard is a goalkeeper that we have high hopes for.
“He trained with the senior squad last June. We have three young keepers in Hazard, (Conor) Mitchell and Bailey (Peacock-Farrell). The three will be rotated and managed between the Under 21s and senior side going forward.”
Peacock-Farrell has recently made his second breakthrough into the Leeds United first-team. With Felix Wiedwald out of form and usual second choice Andy Lonergan ill, the 21-year-old was brought into the first-team to face Championship leaders Wolves last week. It was the stopper’s first Leeds appearance since his last and only one, v QPR in April 2016.
He impressed in the game, winning the man-of-the-match award and retained his place for the Reading game at the weekend.
Unfortunately it seems his emergence came too late to earn a Northern Ireland call-up. Instead, O’Neill went with experienced pair Michael McGovern and Trevor Carson with first time call-up Conor Hazard. It seems the Celtic talent, currently on loan at Falkirk, will be Peacock-Farrell’s main rival for the national team set-up.
The Leeds goalie has plenty to do before he wins his first Northern Ireland cap. He has been called up to the senior squad once before, but for now will be battling with Burnley’s Conor Mitchell for the number one spot with the under-21s.
But it seems a future in the Northern Ireland national set-up is in the long-term plans for the Leeds United goalkeeper.
Fans at Elland Road will hope he can produce the sort of form that warrants a return to his national team.