Young Lions boss Steve Cooper has reached out for some local advice ahead of this month’s FIFA U17 World Cup in India.
The squad have been upping their preparations with a pre-tournament training camp in Mumbai over the last few days before heading to their base city of Kolkata on Tuesday.
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And head coach Cooper has been utilising his contacts book to try and make the transition to life in India as smooth as possible, with Kolkata seen as the nation’s footballing hotbed.
“We have reached out to some people who have worked in India,” revealed Cooper.
“The India national team manager, Stephen Constantine, has been a real help and I’ve been fascinated at some of the stories that he’s had to tell.
“Steve Coppell has managed out there and I’ve had a great conversation with him too and we have some other staff members who have worked out here in terms of sports science.
“Ashley Westwood is the technical director at Kolkata, where Teddy Sheringham is the manager, and they’ve all helped to give us a really good insight into what it looks like in India and hopefully that information can be valuable in terms of our preparation.”
Cooper is certainly happy with the preparation levels that his squad have endured, ever since sealing their World Cup spot by virtue of their performance at May’s U17 Euro Finals in Croatia where they lost out on the title after a penalty shootout defeat to Spain.
The group had a good spell of training at St. George’s Park in August and September as well as games with Brazil and South Africa, before they left their homeland last week for five days of acclimatisation and training in India’s largest city.
The camp culminated with a warm-up game against New Zealand on Sunday, in which the Young Lions ran out as 3-2 winners thanks to a goal from Marc Guehi and a Rhian Brewster brace.
And Cooper believes those final few days together before they reach their World Cup base could be crucial in the long run.