Peacock-Farrell relishing Northern Ireland duty after club struggles
Bailey Peacock-Farrell’s search for regular club football has taken him to Denmark this season but the Northern Ireland goalkeeper has never had to worry about getting a game for his country.
Installed as Michael O’Neill’s No1 at the start of the Nations League campaign in 2018, Peacock-Farrell has had the place nailed down ever since, earning his 41st cap in Sunday’s 1-0 defeat to Kazakhstan in Astana.
The 26-year-old Burnley goalkeeper has played as many games games for Northern Ireland as any of the five professional clubs on his resume bar Sheffield Wednesday, for whom he turned out 47 times during a loan spell in 2021-22.
Peacock-Farrell has now joined Danish side AGF Aarhus on a season-long loan, but throughout frustrating periods at both Leeds and Burnley, it is Northern Ireland that has been the constant in his career.
“When I come away I try like everyone to play to the best of my ability and overall I’ve done quite well so far,” Peacock-Farrell told the PA news agency.
“Club level has not been amazing and there’s been inconsistencies in terms of game time. For the manager now (Michael O’Neill) and the manager before (Ian Baraclough) to stick by me is obviously a real nice vote of confidence.
“I’m just trying to rectify the club level now and that’s the aim this year.”
Peacock-Farrell has regularly proved himself as a shot-stopper for Northern Ireland when opportunities have not been there for him at club level.
“It’s 10 games a year (with Northern Ireland) so when you only get 10-15 games at club level in cups and so on, you add these 10 and you’ve still had an acceptable amount as a season,” he said. “And it’s another opportunity to perform for your country.”
After losing the Leeds starting berth to ex-Real Madrid stopper Kiko Casilla in January 2019, Peacock-Farrell moved to Burnley but was never able to win the number one position at Turf Moor.
After the season at Hillsborough, he served as back up to Aro Muric last term, making 16 appearances as Burnley earned promotion back to the Premier League.
But Vincent Kompany spent £20million to sign James Trafford this summer, and Peacock-Farrell knew he needed to look elsewhere.
He had options in the Championship but the challenge, both personal and professional, of moving to Denmark’s second city had greater appeal.
For a player raised in the north-east of England a little Scandinavian chill is not too much of a concern, and Peacock-Farrell has settled quickly.
“It’s really nice, a beautiful country, a great city,” he said. “It feels very natural and there’s been no issues settling.”
This season O’Neill will be collecting air miles keeping an eye not only on Peacock-Farrell but also Isaac Price at Standard Liege and Craig Cathcart at Kortrijk, but still relatively few British players make moves abroad.
“I’m not sure why,” Peacock-Farrell said. “Maybe it’s a cultural thing but maybe it’s because the Premier League is here and everyone wants to come.
“I had a couple of options in England and this one really stood out in terms of a different way of football. European football is so different to the Premier League, Championship, League One, so it was another learning experience and hopefully it’s a good one by the end of the season.”
A landmark 50th cap is now almost within sight for a player still young in goalkeeping terms, and he has ambitions of a full century.
“I got my 40th the other night and I’m really proud to say that,” added. “Now I’m pushing for the next milestone which is 50.
“We’ve got big players here on big caps, Jonny (Evans) and Davo (Steven Davis) when he comes back. There’s a long way to go but it’s a goal of mine.”