Trevor Peake

Trevor Peake: The Man Behind The Magic

Following Friday's announcement, celebrates the career of retiring Academy coach Trevor Peake with the help of several of his former players.
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After 17 years of service to Leicester City Football Club and over four decades in professional football, Peake is hanging up his coaching boots and retiring from his role.

He has nurtured hundreds of young, emerging talents and turned them into stars for Leicester City and beyond.

Peake started out as Under-17s coach, becoming Leicester’s Lead Professional Development Phase Coach when Steve Beaglehole was promoted to the role of Senior Professional Development Phase Coach.

The former defender already had coaching experience at Luton Town and Coventry City, where he lifted the FA Cup as a player, before arriving at Belvoir Drive.

Initially a scout for then City manager Micky Adams, the now 63-year-old soon joined the Club on a full-time basis, in the summer of 2003.

We caught up with some of Leicester’s most decorated Academy graduates to find out about the man behind those success stories.

“I remember the drill he always used to do,” recalls Andy King, who has gone on to win England’s top three domestic leagues during his time at City, while also playing a part in Wales’ run to the semi-finals of the 2016 UEFA European Championship in France.

“Someone would serve the ball and you’d have to volley it in different ways over a hurdle. It was known as ‘Trev’s drill’. The lads loved him and enjoyed those sessions as he was a really technical coach.

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Andy King
Andy King

King is one of the most decorated players in City's entire history.

“But one time people were messing about and thinking this was the easy part of the session. It was the first time I’d ever seen him lose it, he made everyone run to the far end of the pitch and back again.

“Then you could see he had two sides to him, which you need for players that age. He was strict and everyone respected him for what a good coach he was.

“Trev wanted to make sure players had not only the technical ability but the character to be resilient enough to deal with all the stuff that comes with being a professional footballer and stay in the game. He was really good at getting that message across.

“You can have all the ability in the world but without character, you’re not going to make it. I think he saw that as a big thing and he made sure we were ready for that first team dressing room and coaching from a young age.”

King, currently on loan from Leicester at Huddersfield Town, has made over 300 league appearances for the Foxes, and believes Peake’s record of getting players into the first team should be applauded.

“There are three or four lads in the first team now who came through the Academy and it’s testament to Trev and Beags (Steve Beaglehole) and the work that they are doing," he said.

“It shows that they’re doing it in the right way to create not just players for Leicester, they’re creating international players as well.

“He’ll be massively missed around the place by the lads who came through his coaching. He had a great impact on everyone who went into the first team.”

Peake was newly appointed in his role as Under-17s coach when future City stalwart Richard Stearman was making his way in the game as a first-year scholar.

In fact, Stearman became the first to benefit from his tutelage and break into the first team, going on to make over a century of appearances as a Fox.

The centre-back says he definitely benefitted from having a fellow defender to gain experience from.

He’ll be massively missed around the place by the lads who came through his coaching. He had a great impact on everyone who went into the first team.

Andy King

“He helped me massively personally,” the 37-year-old admitted.

“It was great to learn from someone who had been there and done that. He was someone to look up to and gave me a good footing to have the career that I’ve enjoyed.

“He’s a really good guy with old school morals. We really enjoyed working with him and Steve Beaglehole, they were a formidable partnership.

“He was quite tough on us but I think that got the best out of the group of players that I came through with.

“Not only that, he introduced us to quite a lot of technical stuff in training, as well as a desire and hunger to win and all that combined meant we had quite a successful youth team.

“Working with us, five or six had careers within football so that’s an incredible amount just for one youth team, but there are countless others that Trevor has overseen in the system that have managed to play across the Football League.”

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Richard Stearman
Richard Stearman

Stearman's final year as a Fox ended with him winning two annual Club awards.

The game has undoubtedly changed since Stearman joined the Club, but he is adamant that coaches like Peake remain essential for the development of youth team players.

He added: “Those old school values, the respect that they demand and how they teach and educate the young lads coming through, I think it’s invaluable and I’ve taken it with me throughout my career.

“Not just the stuff on the pitch, but he taught us how to be professional footballers, how to hold yourself and manage yourself and wanting to be a winner. And he certainly was that.

“I still take a keen interest in what happens at Leicester, not just at first team level but throughout as that’s the path I took into professional football. Since I left the Club, the youth teams have continued to thrive under his leadership.

“To see them being so successful, it’s the model that Trevor, Beags and Jon Rudkin created when I was there and they’ve continued to build on that, create more successful teams and ultimately players for the first team.

“Several have all played major parts for Leicester in recent times and that’s down to the individual but an incredible amount down to the coaches behind the scenes.

“Trevor Peake is someone who can be very proud of what he’s achieved at Leicester City. He’s been a fantastic servant for the Club and one who was very successful within his job.”

Ben Chilwell has risen through the ranks at Leicester since his arrival as a 12-year-old to become the Foxes’ first-choice left-back, as well as making his England debut in 2018, at the age of 21.

Peake became key to his development at Belvoir Drive, particularly in the transition to youth football, as the full-back explains.

“My first impressions of him were [that he was] scary really!” Chilwell joked.

Trevor Peake is someone who can be very proud of what he’s achieved at Leicester City. He’s been a fantastic servant for the Club and one who was very successful within his job.

Richard Stearman

“He was very intimidating, tough on you but in a good way. He wanted to get the best out of you but didn’t tolerate any laziness or lack of effort in training.

“If I wasn’t training at 100 per cent, he’d make sure that I was getting back to that and improving my game, so I’ve got a lot to thank him for.

“I was 15 or 16 when I started training with the youth team and going from Under-16s, the step up is quite big. It’s a lot more physical so he helped with that. 

"Off the pitch, away from it all, he liked to have a laugh and a joke with you, so it was a good balance and I really enjoyed playing for him.”

That ability to get the best out of players allowed Peake to nurture some of Leicester and England’s brightest young talents in what would be the final few years of his coaching career.

Chilwell continued: “Myself, Hamza [Choudhury] and Barnesy (Harvey Barnes) who are in the squad now as well, he made sure that we kept our standards high every day. You couldn’t have any days off.

“He had all of us for two or three years so he’s helped all of us a lot. For a team like Leicester that promotes the youth, it’s a really good thing and [the Club is] probably one of the highest performers in terms of players making it into the first team.

“A lot of that is down to him, I’m sure he’ll be looking back very happy when he’s retired.”

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Ben Chilwell
Ben Chilwell

Left-back Chilwell was progressed from Leicester's Academy to an England international.

Fellow City graduate Barnes, who made his debut a year later than Chilwell, concurs.

“I first started working with Trevor when I became a scholar,” the winger, who signed for the Club at the age of nine, began.

“For me it was a scary time as you are starting to go into first team football and there was a big change from Under-16s.

“Trevor really helped not just me, but the whole team, in terms of making that step to slowly becoming a man and creating that pathway into senior football.”

Barnes went out on loan to MK Dons, Barnsley and West Bromwich Albion before his breakthrough at King Power Stadium. And Peake is one of the coaches he wants to thank for getting him physically and mentality ready for the move into men’s football.

Trevor really helped not just me, but the whole team, in terms of making that step to slowly becoming a man and creating that pathway into senior football.

Harvey Barnes

He said: “He’s obviously a great coach, he helped with character building and making those early steps into the career that I’ve started now, I think that’s been a massive help.

“It’s a loss for Leicester City, but we all wish him the very best in retirement. It wasn’t a big announcement, which is probably how Trev likes it. I found out from a few other coaches so it wasn’t like there was a big send off, but he’s had a great impact on the Club.

“He’s been here for so many years now and everyone who has come across him and worked with him has only got great things to say.”

That longevity of repeated success is evident in City’s current crop of youngsters, which includes Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall.

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Jamie Vardy & Harvey Barnes
Jamie Vardy & Harvey Barnes

Barnes is now an established member of Rodgers' first team.

Another player to benefit from Peake’s coaching and support, the 21-year-old recently took the next step in his professional career with a loan spell at Sky Bet League 1 side Blackpool.

The midfielder believes his former coach has created a pathway that will hopefully lead to a long future at City: “Going into full-time football, it was an important step for a young player at my age to try and play games regularly and he gave me that opportunity straight away to play week in, week out, which I’m grateful for.

“There’s nothing better than getting game time to improve and he gave me that chance. He saw something in me even though I was a young lad and that made me more confident.

“He was a pleasure to play under because he could have a joke but he was also serious and wanted to win football matches and develop players, which at that time is really important.

“He didn’t take any misbehaviour from the lads and you could tell straight away he wanted to improve you. He was a good coach with good tactics and made sure that everyone knew their roles.”

Aside from his strict discipline on the pitch, Peake was also invaluable off it, helping Dewsbury-Hall to grow as a person.

He revealed: “He was a really nice guy off the field, so down to earth. He could be a bit daunting, but once you get to know him, you can have a normal chat with him one-to-one.

“If you had any problems, he would talk you through it and try and help you as best he could. His man-management was really good.”

After signing his professional contract in 2017, being named Development Squad Player of the Year in 2019 and making his City debut in an Emirates FA Cup tie in January, the youngster is hoping to become the next in a long line of emerging talents coached by Peake, to play regularly for Leicester.

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Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall
Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall

Dewsbury-Hall was the latest star to make the jump to first team football.

“You can just see with the players he’s coached, they’ve played in the Premier League," he continued. "That’s a big thing and it’s no coincidence that they go on to make it.

“I’m hopeful I can be one of the ones to go through and be another one on his list that he can say: ‘Yeah, I coached him from being a young kid and watched him come through’.

“We had a chat after I made my debut, he was complimentary and happy as he hoped I would go on to that and he’d said that when he coached me as a young player.

“He said to just keep working hard and do what I’m doing and believe in my ability because that can take me all the way to the first team and hopefully he’s right with that.”

We had a chat after I made my debut, he was complimentary and happy as he hoped I would go on to that and he’d said that when he coached me as a young player.

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall

Peake’s legacy will continue to extend further in the coming years as Stearman, currently plying his trade in the Sky Bet Championship with Huddersfield Town, recently completed his A-Licence coaching qualification.

“[Coaching is] something I’m looking to go into post-football,” the centre-back revealed.

“I’ll draw on the experiences that I’ve had as a player from coaches and Trevor Peake is certainly someone I’ll take parts from.

“Now I’m at the other end, I’m trying to pass that on to the young lads. It’s from Trevor that we had that instilled in us so it’s set me in very good stead.

“Hopefully I can sort of replicate and emulate the career he’s had in football and if I manage to do that I’d be very proud.”

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