ENGLAND Under-17s head coach Steve Cooper said yesterday he was thrilled at the thought of being on the brink of an “amazing” World Cup double.
While an air of negativity lingers around Gareth Southgate’s senior side, England’s development teams are celebrating the most trophy-laden year in history.
Having retained the Toulon crown, become Under-19 European champions for the first time and lifted their maiden Under-20 World Cup, England are on track to win their first Under-17 world title.
Swashbuckling England are through to their first Under-17 World Cup final, having impressively overcome Brazil to set up today’s historic clash with Spain in Kolkata.
Cooper said it would be “great recognition for what is going on with youth academies and the England teams, the work that is being done and it’s really showcasing the talent and the potential these boys have.
“We’ve played with real pride, real passion, but with real expertise and the ideas we’re implementing as well.”
England can become just the second nation to win the Under-17 and Under-20 competitions in the same year, while today’s match offers revenge as well as silverware having lost May’s Under-17 European Championship final to Spain.
Rhian Brewster missed a penalty in the shootout, but that setback has not dented his confidence judging by the Liverpool teenager’s quarter-final and semi-final hat-tricks in India.
Such talent has helped England make light work of the fact Jadon Sancho — golden player at the Under-17 Euros — was disappointingly withdrawn by Borussia Dortmund after the group stage.