Youth Teams
Youth Teams
The FA

Cooper calls on contacts

England U17s boss happy with World Cup preparations after seeking inside advice

Monday 02 Oct 2017

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.

FIFA U17 World Cup
  • 6-28 October 2017
  • Sunday 8 October: England v Chile
  • Wednesday 11 October: England v Mexico
  • Saturday 14 October: England v Iraq
  • Live on Eurosport

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.

The FA ;

“Preparation is always key, you’re coming together as individuals and trying to become a team as quickly as you can,” he explained.

“Particularly in World Cups, acclimatisation and getting used to the culture and the surroundings is going to be important.

“Let’s not forget, they’re only 17 and they only experienced their first major tournament at the U17 Finals in Croatia earlier this year, where they did brilliantly.

“So this is going to be a new experience all-round for them and preparation for it is key.”

With the time spent in Mumbai offering the group a chance to sample the passion and interest in the U17 World Cup on an initial basis, things will get more intense on their arrival in Kolkata and as kick-off draws closer.

The football-mad city will host all three of England’s group games with Chile, Mexico and Iraq, and after visiting the venue following the World Cup draw, Cooper believes it will be a real eye-opener for the players.

“It’s a good life experience for them to go to India and I think it’s really important for the boys to experience what football looks like in other parts of the world,” he said.

“We want to interact with the local people in Kolkata so they recognise that we’re going to be part of their community whilst we’re there.

“I was so impressed with the interest from the Indian people, there’s a real buzz around the country about hosting the World Cup and a lot of interest.

“I have no doubt that it will be an amazing World Cup and the support will be at the same level. There’s a real interest in the Premier League and English football, so if we’re bringing part of that to India, it’s important that we give a bit back as well.”

The Young Lions begin their World Cup next Sunday, when they face Chile in Kolkata in front of an expected 50,000 strong crowd.

By Nicholas Veevers Content Manager - FA Owned Channels