England have secured a European Under-17 Championship quarter-final spot with a game to spare and coach Steve Cooper is impressed to see the year-round hard work done at St. George’s Park is coming to fruition at the perfect time.
In December 2014, England DNA philosophy was launched, with its core principles applicable to each of the 24 national teams, and Cooper believes his group of players are staying true to those values.
Cooper said: “We approach every game the same. We know what our identity is, we know what we want the team to look like and our approach will be the same.
“I’m pleased with the lads, it was a nice result, four goals and a clean sheet.
“In the first half particularly, I thought some of the football we played was excellent, with the style that we’re introduced to with England, that’s how we want the teams to play – with the football, produce good creative play and goals at the end of it.
“It’s very much a team game, connecting with each other, so it was good to see.
“It doesn’t matter what team we put out, it’s very much about the 18 who are here and we’ll be picking teams that I think can play like we did against Ukraine.”
First-half goals from George McEachran, Rhian Brewster and Jadon Sancho set England on their way, before Aidan Barlow, who came off the bench to make his first international appearance, scored within three minutes of his introduction to cap a fine team display.
Cooper added: “I’m really pleased with the strength of the squad. Aidan came on and scored a goal in his first appearance this season for us, so the really good aspect is that we’re a squad, not just a team.
“I know we’ve got players in the final third who can do great things, but we’ve got to get them the ball and that was just as pleasing.
“Whoever wins the game on Wednesday will probably take first place, so there is a little bit to play for and no doubt we’ll approach the game with a lot of respect for the Netherlands, but hopefully we’ll get another win.”