FIFA U-17 World Cup: England coach seeks to draw inspiration from U-20 triumph | football | Hindustan Times
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FIFA U-17 World Cup: England coach seeks to draw inspiration from U-20 triumph

England are in group F of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, and and will be based in Kolkata along with Chile, Mexico and Iraq

football Updated: Jul 09, 2017 16:21 IST
Coaches and officials of England, Chili, Maxico and Iraq at the Salt Lake Stadium ground for a round of inspection ahead of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, in Kolkata on Sunday.
Coaches and officials of England, Chili, Maxico and Iraq at the Salt Lake Stadium ground for a round of inspection ahead of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, in Kolkata on Sunday.(PTI)

Their winning the under-20 World Cup may be the first indication that things are finally coming together for England when it comes to developing players. Steve Cooper, however, doesn’t think it would translate into greater pressure on his under-17 boys.

“I think it would serve as greater inspiration and motivation,” said the England U-17 team coach after an inspection tour of the Salt Lake stadium here on Sunday.

England are in group F of the under-17 World Cup and will be based here along with Chile, Mexico and Iraq. Representatives of all four teams visited the stadium and the practice grounds on Sunday.

“The U-20 boys did such a good job and it meant great recognition for the academies and young England players coming through. But does this mean more pressure on the boys? No. And I would prefer the pressure to do well.

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We are working really hard to develop the best development programme for the young boys and qualifying for such events is important to that end,” said Cooper who had a professional coaching licence when he was 26.

The Young Lions qualified for the under-17 World Cup that will be held in India from October 6-28 after finishing runners-up in the European championships this year, losing to Spain on penalties.

Cooper is a Welshman who spent five years as coach at Liverpool’s academy and briefly played for Wrexham. He said everything about an under-17 World Cup should be a positive life experience for the boys, the weather included.

Beads of sweat lining his forehead, Cooper, 37, said the heat and humidity is not a surprise. “And who knows where future World Cups would be, whether they might be in similar conditions to India or in India itself,” he said.

Thumbs up

Like Mexico’s interim coach Echeverria Perez Enrique and Chile’s Hernan Caputto, Cooper too gave the thumbs up to the facilities.

“After first impressions, no complaints,” said Cooper, 37, and he could be speaking for the rest of them as well.

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Caputto and Enrique said they are planning to reach Kolkata in the first week of October; the group games here start on October 8. Cooper said England could get here earlier.

Mexico target semis

Echeverria was only one among the trio --- no one from Iraq was available for the media interaction --- who said his team is coming here with a target. Mexico aim to make the semi-finals, he said, speaking through an interpreter. “And then return here for the final. It is a project we started six-seven years ago.”