Steve Cooper believes his Young Lions will only benefit from the next step in their fledgling international careers, as they head to the U17 World Cup.
The 21-strong squad will fly to India on Thursday morning to begin their preparations for what will be another step up in terms of their experiences with England.
- 6-28 October 2017
- Sunday 8 October: England v Chile
- Wednesday 11 October: Mexico v England
- Saturday 14 October: England v Iraq
- Live on Eurosport
For many of them, that previous step came last season as they reached the final of the U17 European Championship, where they suffered the heartbreak of conceding a last-minute equaliser and then a penalty shootout defeat.
The performances on that trip to Croatia, their first competitive international tournament, gave Cooper plenty of confidence in his players and their chances to now develop further on a world stage.
“I’m really happy with the squad we’ve selected,” he revealed.
“It’s a core group of players that we’ve had on the international scene for a while now.
“That’s good, because we’re trying to work in a way that we flag players who can stay on the international pathway for as long as possible.
“Of course, we also want players who can perform today and that’s what the World Cup will be about, but we want to build for the long-term as well so the fact that most of these lads have been with us for four years now is good.
“But there’s a long way to go and the U17 World Cup isn’t the end, but it’s an important milestone of the international journey.”