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Coops happy with Young Lions' style

England U17s boss impressed with how his squad handled occasion of World Cup opener

Monday 09 Oct 2017

England U17s boss Steve Cooper praised his side’s maturity and approach after they kicked-off their World Cup campaign in fine style on Sunday.

The Young Lions were in dominant form to beat Chile by 4-0 in front of a bumper crowd in Kolkata, thanks to goals from Callum Hudson-Odoi, Jadon Sancho (2) and Angel Gomes.

Chile 0-4 England
  • FIFA U17 World Cup
  • Sunday 8 October
  • Kolkata, India

And with a bumper crowd and electric atmosphere at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan Stadium, head coach Cooper was pleased with the way his players handled the pressure.

“It’s obviously a good scoreline for an opening match, but the biggest thing tonight is not forgetting the age of these players,” he said.

“To play in an occasion like this and to handle it like they did, put on a performance and get a result like that is credit to them.

“I thought we controlled the game from start until finish, played with the style that we want our England teams to play with and got the result we intended to get, so we have a lot of positives to take from the game.

“We scored some great goals, but we also kept a clean sheet and goal difference can make a big difference in the group stage of tournaments like this.

“There were many aspects about the performance which we’re pleased with but the clean sheet is an important as the four goals.”

It is the attacking ability at Cooper’s disposal which has caught the eye in India, where the likes of Sancho, Hudson-Odoi, Rhian Brewster and Gomes caused the Chilean defence all manner of problems in the opening game.

But Cooper believes the base of his side and the creative midfield hub behind them are the platform on which to build a team, who only missed out on becoming Euro champions in May by virtue of a penalty shootout defeat to Spain.

“We are very much about the team and not individuals and the players will tell you that,” he added.

“If we can keep it that way we’ll have a better chance of being successful in the short and long term.

“Obviously, it’s a great start but we’re not going to get carried away and until we get out of the group stage, we’re not thinking of anything else and the only thing we’re thinking of now is Mexico on Wednesday.

“We need to recover and prepare for another really good test in a couple of days against Mexico.

“There’s 21 players here in Kolkata that can play in the way we want to play and tournament football is all about utilising the squad, which I think showed with the changes we made.”

The FA ;

Manchester City’s Joel Latibeaudiere, who captained the Young Lions against Chile, re-inforced that belief too after helping his side shut out the South American side.

England v Mexico
  • FIFA U17 World Cup
  • 12.30pm, Wednesday 11 October
  • Kolkata, India
  • Live on Eurosport

“We’re really happy with the clean sheet, because goal difference is a really big thing and as a defender, it’s like a goal for me,” he said, before paying tribute to the support England have received in India.

“The fans were great, so I’d like to thank them all for coming and the pitch was really good.

“People have been working really hard to get things right and make this a good event and they’ve done a really good job.”

The Young Lions will be back at the venue on Wednesday, when Mexico are the opposition in a game which kicks-off at 12.30pm BST.

By Nicholas Veevers Content Manager - FA Owned Channels