Back in December 2014, The English Football Association disclosed its ‘England DNA’ manifesto — a playing and coaching philosophy for all England national teams across age groups these were some of the attributes they hoped future and current English players would possess. England players celebrate a goal against Spain in the final of the UEFA U-17 Championship.
When England clinched the U-20 World Cup in June this year, their first title at this level, it just proved what ‘England DNA’ can do. But a single title cannot determine the success of manifesto. It has to be a series of victories. The victory in the u-17 World Cup will further strengthen its case.
At the U-17 World Cup, their path will be tougher than usual. England have been drawn in an group which comprises of CONCACAF champions Mexico, Asian champions Iraq, and Chile, who finished second in the South American U-17 Championships.
England aren’t weak wither. They finished second in the UEFA U-17 Championship. They could well have been European champions had they not conceded a late goal against Spain in the final, which forced the final into a penalty shootout, where Spain were victorious.
“It’s a World Cup so you’re not going to get any easy games — be it coming up against a talented team, a physical team or an athletic team or be it the culture, the environment or the weather. Just the World Cup experience is one of those events that are so important because they throw up a variety of challenges and demands and it will be great to see how our players react,” England U-17 coach Steve Cooper said
“From an international career point of view, the U-17 World Cup is an invaluable experience whatever is the outcome of the tournament. There’s only a maximum of three World Cups you can play in (at U-17, U-20 and senior national team level) and to do that then you have to be a very successful player. Coming to India and experiencing a FIFA event is something that doesn’t come around very often.”
“You also have to take into account that it’s a life experience as well. These are still young players, still very much learning about themselves and who they really are. So to come to a different part of the world like India, hopefully, they can create some memories that will serve us well in the future, both on and off the pitch. At The Football Association, we’re all tasked with creating an England team ready to win the World Cup in 2022 so this experience will be an important part of that development,” England U-17 coach Steve Cooper.
“All of our players have been in the England system for a few years now. They very much understand the way we work and what our long-term goals are. They have quite a lot of experience so far and have played in UEFA competitions as well as travelling outside of Europe, particularly in the U-16 year when they played against teams from South America. So they are an experienced group and fully up to speed with what we are trying to do with England teams,” Cooper added.
“My footballing philosophy is the same as all of our national coaches and that is the England DNA. It’s about ultimately a possession-based game but with a purpose, a purpose that will serve us right for any given tournament or game. We want a consistent playing style for years to come so one of the most important parts is that we look similar to every other England team because with that consistency that’s how we’ll reach the goals and objectives that we set ourselves.”
When asked, what is better- Team winning anyhow or philosophy, he said, “They go hand-in-hand, it’s not my footballing philosophy as it’s what all England teams are trying to do and I fully believe in that. (It’s) Easier said than done as sometimes it’s difficult to play well and win, particularly when you come to a tournament like a World Cup. But that’s always the aim and ambition for the teams. For me, one goes with the other and we’re playing in a way that will help us perform and win games here and now, but also, and more importantly, long term.”
“A team that are privileged and proud to be representing their country in a World Cup. Off the back of that, hopefully you will see good characters that will play an exciting brand of football that replicates how we want our teams to perform and behave,” Cooper said on expectations from England in this World Cup.