Youth Teams
Youth Teams
The FA

One step at a time

Young Lions boss says his squad are firmly focused on U17 World Cup clash with Japan

Monday 16 Oct 2017

Steve Cooper says nobody in the England camp is getting carried away, as the Young Lions prepare to face Japan in the U17 World Cup.

The Young Lions have been one of the most eye-catching teams in India for the competition, after emerging from their qualifying group with three wins from three and scoring 11 goals in the process.

England v Japan
  • FIFA U17 World Cup
  • 3.30pm, Tuesday 17 October
  • Kolkata, India
  • Live on Eurosport

And Saturday’s 4-0 win over Iraq was just as important to Cooper for logistical reasons, as it means his squad will remain in Kolkata for the round of 16, where they’ve played all of their matches so far

“It’s a game we’re looking forward to and it’s very exciting,” admitted Cooper.

“Congratulations to Japan for qualifying and qualifying well, but it’s business as usual for us.

“We’ll look back at the Iraq game, then rest and recover to get a plan ready to face a strong Japan team.

“We’re happy to still be here in Kolkata, so that was why it was important we got the result tonight which enabled that to happen.

“Hopefully we’ll be ready to deliver when it comes against Japan.”

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Despite the momentum and confidence gained from England’s time in India so far, the head coach and his staff are working to keep the players’ focus on their next task.

And while Cooper admits he can’t fail to be pleased with the efforts of his group so far, he knows there are still improvements to be made as they head into the knockout phase.

“We must always have the mentality of how we get better and strive to reach even better levels and that’s what we’ll be doing,” he explained.

“It’s step by step, of course we’re pleased with the return of nine points, scoring 11 goals and conceding two and our first objective was to qualify and get out of the group.

“So to do it as top of a tough group is something the players should get a lot of recognition for but we’re looking no further than Japan and nobody is going to get carried away.”

Cooper also admits he’s happy that he’s been able to utilise his 21-man squad too, after making multiple changes to the team for Saturday’s game and still seeing his team run out as convincing winners against a side who beat Japan in the AFC U16 Championship last season.

“We’ve managed to get every outfield player on the pitch now, which is important in their development and experience of playing in this wonderful event,” he added.

“It’s a difficult team for me to pick against Japan now, but it’s a nice problem to have, that’s for sure.”

Tuesday’s game with Japan in the last 16 takes place on Tuesday and kicks-off at 3.30pm BST.

By Nicholas Veevers Content Manager - FA Owned Channels