Alan Cork speaks to FATV about his England U21 involvement this week
England v Austria
An England Under-21s International
American Express Community Stadium, Brighton & Hove Albion FC
7.45pm, Monday 25 March 2013
Buy Tickets Online or call 0844 327 1901
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Alan Cork, an FA Cup winner in 1988, has been helping Stuart Pearce this week as he prepares his England Under-21s side for Monday’s game in Brighton.
Tickets for the game are priced at just £5 for kids and £10 for adults. Family tickets are also available at the price of £20 family ticket (2 adults, 2 children), while Charter Standard clubs and Groups also receive discounts.
With young Lions assistant coach Steve Wigley in Dallas with his club Fulham, Pearce called upon the former Wimbledon forward to help with the sessions ahead of the meeting with Austria.
And Cork has close links with the Under-21s. His son, Southampton midfielder Jack, was an important member of Pearce’s squad that travelled to Denmark two years ago, and also figured for Team GB at London 2012.
Cork senior joined Wimbledon in 1978 and during 14 years at the club netted 145 league goals in 430 games. Spells at Sheffield United and Fulham followed before he moved into coaching at Craven Cottage.
The 54-year-old has held a number of coaching roles since then, including manager at both Swansea City and Cardiff City, and has also been on a series of scouting missions for Pearce before linking up with the England squad.
“I’ve been working for Stuart doing reports on and off for the last three years. I worked with Wigs [Steve Wigley] at Bolton and I’ve known Brian Eastick for many, many years, from the old Wimbledon days,” he told TheFA.com.
“I always wanted to [coach] when I was playing, I took my badge a long, long time ago, the full-badge, and then I was very lucky that Mr Branfoot at Fulham gave me the chance to do the youth team. I had about eight balls and six bibs and it went from there.”
He continued: “I’ve been working virtually all the time since I finished playing and I’ve done all the leagues and have had a good experience of the highs and lows of football. This is obviously top-level football and I’m very impressed with the set-up.
“I’m delighted to be here. I’ve got the Three Lions on my shirt. I’ve been doing some coaching with the lads and it’s nice to get to work with them.
“I’ve seen them all play, but when you get to see them face to face it’s a completely different thing. I’m so impressed with the set-up, the lads are great and all the staff are very professional, it’s been a nice experience.”
Cork is also impressed by the winning run the England team is currently enjoying.
Thursday’s result against Romania in Wycombe was the Under-21s eighth consecutive victory, an England record at this level.
He believes the young Lions have the potential to keep that run going in Brighton, and beyond when they meet up in June for the UEFA European Under-21 Championship Finals in Israel.
“I turned up Thursday for the first game and was in the dressing room for the team talk. Stuart asked them to do certain things and they all went out, to a man, and did it. The subs went out and did it too, it was really impressive,” he said.
“It’s a great habit to have, winning games. And when you’re not conceding goals it just breeds confidence. I’m really delighted to be here, the lads have shown great professionalism and I think it bodes well for the summer.”
He added: “I think [the Under-21s team] are a great bunch of lads and you can see straight away what they are like.
“I think they’ll go out with the same attitude again and that’s all you can do. If you go out with the right attitude you’re going to win more games than you lose.”
Cork is naturally very proud of his son Jack, who was a highly-regarded member of the Under-21s squad having played at every development level for England since first pulling on the Three Lions as a 15-year-old Chelsea player in 2005.
“I know he’s my boy, but everyone likes Jack wherever he goes. He actually likes training, and enjoys himself,” said Cork. “He’s gone out on loan seven times and has played nearly 250 league games and he enjoys playing football.
“He got called up for the Olympics and there were tears in the family, and it means a lot to him. It means a lot to me, I’ve sent pictures to everyone with this top on, don’t worry about that!
Book your tickets online at www.seagulls.co.uk, via the ticket line – 0844 327 1901 – and in person at both ticket offices, located at the American Express Community Stadium and Queen’s Road, Brighton.