Youth Teams
Youth Teams

England U17s boss Steve Cooper praises his side's character after Euro semi-final win

Tuesday 16 May 2017
England Under-17s head coach Steve Cooper during his side's Euro semi-final win over Turkey

England Under-17s boss Steve Cooper paid tribute to his team’s "heart and soul" as they secured a spot in the Euro Final.

The Young Lions edged past Turkey in Tuesday’s semi-final, as first-half goals from Callum Hudson-Odoi and Jadon Sancho set up a 2-1 win and a place in Friday's showpiece against Germany or Spain.

But Cooper’s side were dealt a blow when midfielder Tashan Oakley-Boothe was stretchered off unconscious, after an accidental clash with Hasan Adıgüzel.

Turkey 1-2 England
  • UEFA European U17 Championship
  • Semi-Final
  • Tuesday 16 May 2017
  • Zapresic, Croatia
  • Live on Eurosport

When Turkey reduced the arrears in first-half stoppage time, it meant England had to manage and overcome a tense spell of pressure before their place in the final was sealed.

"The object of the game was to win and give ourselves the chance of getting to the final and we've done that,” said Cooper.

"The performance in the first half was excellent and I thought we played some really good football.

"We were more than good for our two-goal lead and the second half was a little bit different, but it was always going to be because you're in a semi-final.

"There were a couple of times when we had to respond to some setbacks in the game, and that just shows the character and mentality of the group.

"Whatever these boys do in the tournament it will be good learning and the way we ran and dug in in the second half, we were really pleased with the heart and soul.”

Of course, the wellbeing of Tottenham Hotspur’s Oakley-Boothe was the main thing on Cooper’s mind after the game and the head coach revealed the initial signs are encouraging.

"At half time in the dressing room, we had some messages that he was conscious and awake and he was going for further assessment at the hospital,” he revealed.

"The initial assessment is that the signs are positive and that's as much as I know now.

"I didn't see the incident, but great credit to our medics and the way they dealt with it so quickly and also Turkey as well, with their medics.

"It was a really good sign of respect and it epitomises what the tournament is all about.”

England will face either Spain or Germany in Friday’s final in Varazdin, when the Young Lions will aim to become the first nation to win the title for a third time following previous successes in 2010 and 2014.

By FA Staff