'We want them to bring back a legacy,' says head coach

Tuesday 06 Oct 2015
England head coach Neil Dewsnip outlines FIFA U17s World Cup ambitions
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Neil Dewsnip wants his England squad to create a legacy following their experiences at the FIFA Under-17s World Cup.

His Young Lions met up at St. George’s Park on Sunday to begin their preparations for the showpiece tournament in Chile, which they will travel to on Thursday afternoon.

The head coach will take a 21-man group to South America, where his side will compete for qualification from Group B alongside Guinea, Brazil and South Korea.

England kick-off their campaign against the west African nation on Saturday 17 October, the tournament’s opening day.

FIFA Under-17s World Cup 2016, Group B

England v Guinea
Saturday 17 October, Estadio Francisco Sanchez Rumoroso, Coquimbo

Brazil v England
Tuesday 20 October, Estadio La Portada, La Serena

England v South Korea
Friday 23 October, Estadio Francisco Sanchez Rumoroso, Coquimbo

“The excitement has been building and building. When we get on the grass and see the lads play and practise, then we are in the classroom sessions, it does suddenly start to become very real,” Dewsnip told TheFA.com.

“We had a really good session with Gareth Southgate talking about his World Cup experiences, and how different they were over his playing career, and now both the staff and players are in a nice place with their excitement.”

Although the obvious target is to return home with the gold, Dewsnip wants his players to come back from the event with much more than just a winners medal and the trophy.

“There are three big things we want to get out of this tournament. Obviously there is the football, and of course we want to get there and win it and do as well as we can,” he explained.

“We also want to go and get a cultural experience. None of the boys have been to South America before, which is fascinating. 

"Hopefully in their future playing careers they will be going there again or playing South American opposition, so it’s important for them. They can find out what it is all about and gain a very good cultural experience.

England players celebrate their shoot-out victory

England qualified by defeating Spain on penalties in a World Cup play-off

“But also, and perhaps the most important thing, is we want them to bring back some kind of legacy. Yes that can be winning it and being part of a World Cup winning side of course, that would be fantastic, but they want to learn.

“They will have the chance to learn different systems and styles and be able to bring that home and put it into our England pot and that will hopefully help us to become more efficient as we go forward.”

Looking ahead to their opening match against Guinea, England welcome Congo DR to St. George’s Park on Wednesday for the first of two warm-up matches before the big kick-off in 11 days’ time.

Upon their arrival in Chile they will also face the hosts on Sunday as they finalise their plans for a launch at glory.

“I particularly wanted us to play an African team before we went as our first game is against Guinea,” said Dewsnip.

“Some of the players have played against south African sides, but it could be argued that the style they faced will be different to a west African nation.

“Each player will play some part and I think it will be a very useful test and experience for the group before we depart.”

England Under-18s head coach Neil Dewsnip

Neil Dewsnip's side face Congo DR at St. George's Park on Wednesday

And it is not only the players who are relishing the prospect of testing themselves against the world’s finest.

Former Everton head of academy Dewsnip has admitted his own joy at the challenge of pitting his wits against his counterparts from around the globe. 

“I guess this was the ultimate reason why I decided to leave Everton,” he added. 

“I wasn’t in a particular rush to leave, it is a fantastic club that develops a lot of fantastic young players, but I didn’t want to turn the opportunity down to work with the national team.

“This was the kind of experience that I hoped would come my way, I didn’t know it would but fortunately Dan Ashworth, Gareth and Matt Croker have trusted me with this event and hopefully we can do well.”

By Gary Stonehouse Staff Writer At St. George's Park