FIFA U17 World Cup: ''We've been waiting to come to Goa'' says England coach Cooper ahead of USA QF
''We very much wanted to come to Goa and were looking at the prospect after the draw in July because the possibility of ending up here after progressing from the group was very likely,'' said England head coach Steve Cooper, 24 hours before the crunch clash vs the USA.
He continued, ''I've been here before and had a look at the stadium, training facilities, hotel and I said to my staff back on the plane that I really hope we can bring the boys back to Goa, it was because of a few things really. We could see a real support for English football in the state, there was a lot of hype and interest and India has done an amazing job hosting the World Cup so far. So as soon we won the Japan game there was an excitement in the camp and once we touched down in Goa, it certainly did live up to the hype. I'm sure with all the Premier League Club supporters and England supporters, in general. We are gonna have a great game tomorrow and I'm pretty sure we'll feel exactly how we do when we play at home'' said coach Cooper whose heavy praise for Goa will certainly come as good news for Goan football fans and leave them feeling nothing short of proud.
''The boys are in good shape, they've settled well and are in high spirits and focused. We are excited about the game'' said Cooper while Chelsea and England U17 defender Marc Guehi highlighted the similarities and history between the two countries going into the game and the fact that they played each other quite a few times in the last couple of months.
Head coach Cooper also highlighted how the squad depth is one of the key strengths of his team as he has a good 20 players who can easily rotate and still provide the same threat as any other squad while defender Guehi spoke about how set pieces are also a strength of this England side and if they get a chance at a set piece they will always go for scoring a goal. England have so far scored three goals from set pieces, which is the tournament's joint-highest.
''The managers at different levels of English football all have good relationship with players, the u15, u17 right up to the senior team we all have a very good relationship with each other and from the youth level to the senior level we all have similar approaches and philosophies, the connection and good contact that we maintain is one of the key aspects of our English players progressing from junior to senior levels. We want to be as successful as we can, its part of English culture and heritage, we are very passionate about football,'' added Cooper, highlighting the good contact maintained by the managers at different levels in English football
''We have a great relationship with the US Football team; we played a lot of games together and of course staying in the same hotel also gives a chance for the staff to connect with each other. We don't mind facing tough opposition like the USA and in the previous games Iraq, Japan and others. It is important to face the very best because only then can you find out the level that your team is at,'' signed off an optimistic Cooper who feels he and his team are ready and raring to go.