I'm loyal to Northern Ireland, says Peacock-Farrell, as Leeds United keeper reveals England interest

Bailey Peacock-Farrell applauds the crowd after last Friday's 0-0 draw between Leeds United and Middlesbrough.
Bailey Peacock-Farrell applauds the crowd after last Friday's 0-0 draw between Leeds United and Middlesbrough.
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Leeds United goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell said he was committed to an international career with Northern Ireland after revealing that England had sounded him out about a future call-up.

Peacock-Farrell is in a position to make the switch having yet to play in a competitive game for Northern Ireland but the 21-year-old insisted he would be “loyal” to the province, saying coach Michael O’Neill had brought him into the fold at the time when he was “a nobody”.

Peacock-Farrell faces a Benik Afobe penalty during Leeds' opening day win over Stoke City.

Peacock-Farrell faces a Benik Afobe penalty during Leeds' opening day win over Stoke City.

The Darlington-born keeper qualifies for Northern Ireland through his grandparents and made his debut in a friendly against Panama in May.

He is in contention to start Saturday’s UEFA Nations League tie against Bosnia-Herzegovina, an outing which would end England’s interest in him.

FIFA rules allow players to move between nations provided they have not made a competitive appearance for either.

Northern Ireland capped Peacock-Farrell at Under-21 level before O’Neill, who was considering taking the youngster to this summer’s World Cup had his squad qualified, drafted him into the senior set-up.

Peacock-Farrell’s stock has risen at club level this season after new Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa installed him as first-choice ahead of on-loan Chelsea keeper Jamal Blackman.

He had previously finished last term in a starting role, his first chance at senior level since making his debut as a 19-year-old in a 1-1 draw with Queens Park Rangers in 2016.

Asked if he thought he might receive an approach from England, Peacock-Farrell told BBC Sport: “That call’s already happened previous to this but to be fair, Michael got in very early.

“I met him a couple of years ago and the way I felt part of his plans, his future, his idea of how Northern Ireland was going to progress, to have that sense of being wanted was a massive factor in swaying this way.

“I’ve had several chats with the England goalkeeping coaches. One rang me the other week in fact but I’m loyal to Northern Ireland.

“When I met Michael I was a nobody, I was just a young keeper. But for him to take that time out of his day to come and chat to me, and tell me about Northern Ireland, the pathway and what we're planning on doing as a country, for me that was special.

"I don't think you'd get that from any other international manager. That togetherness is one of the main things that Michael brings, those family-orientated values. It's a great honour to have the opportunity to be involved with the team."