FA has good rapport with clubs, says England U-17 coach

England is set to take on New Zealand in a practice match at the Mumbai Football Arena in Mumbai on Sunday.

Talents from Premier League teams Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool will take part in the upcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup.   -  Getty Images

England U-17 arrived at the Mumbai Football Arena for a practice match against New Zealand on Sunday. The 21-player squad named for the U-17 World Cup includes Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho as the solitary player contracted with a foreign club. The young winger had taken a bold step of leaving Manchester City for a career in the Bundesliga.

England names 21-member squad for FIFA U-17 World Cup

Asked if the England squad was at full strength in Mumbai and whether any players were expected to join later in Kolkata when the group games begin, chief coach Steven Cooper said: “The squad is here and ready to play. We have got training sessions, play and visits around, all in preparation for the World Cup. All players are here.”

Teammates include U-17 talents from Premier League teams Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool. The England coach, replying to a query about qualities in Jadon which attracted Borussia's interest, was cautious in his reply.  “All the players are with clubs, who have a development program to give them opportunities to play first-team football. It does not matter which club you are at."

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In the wake of Brazilian Football Confederation's (CBF) troubles with Flamengo regarding Vincius Junior's unavailability for the upcoming World Cup, Cooper praised Football Association’s (FA) rapport with clubs in England. “FA strives to build long-lasting relationships with clubs, who see the value of their players competing in international football, the experiences that it can offer. The players benefit and it is about long-term, so it is important to keep relationships gong.”

Cooper added: “We are lucky that academies working at really good level, producing players. There is not one way of becoming a senior player, there are different ways.”

England is current FIFA U-20 champion and the U-17 squad appear inspired by the seniors’ success. “U-20 win is a motivation, we want to be as successful as they have been. We talked to Paul Simpson (U-20 coach) and staff about how they went about things and would like to have a go at it ourselves.”

The Mumbai Football Arena is offering free entry for fans to watch England take on New Zealand. "Teams asked us to opt for free entry so that they can feel the pressure of playing in front of crowds," said ex-India goalkeeper Dinesh Nair, MFA Trustee.

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