FIFA U-17 WC: Coaches of England, USA weigh in on their chances

England manager Steve Cooper said that he wants to test his squad against the best. The USA coach John Hackworth insisted that the team has worked hard and was ready to challenge England.

England coach Steve Cooper (left) and USA coach John Hackworth attend a media briefing.

England manager Steve Cooper said that he wants to test his squad against the best. At the pre-match press conference, he also talked about the recent success of the junior teams.

On squad depth:  I think it’s recognition of the strength in our squad. We have got at least 20 players here who are worthy of playing for the country in a World Cup and we have been able to show that with our performances. Sometimes it is also a problem as a coach because you have a lot of difficult decisions to make. But I would rather have decisions to make like that than the opposite.

On recent success (junior level): We want to be successful in any competition that we enter, especially in an event like this because it is a part of the English culture and heritage to have a winning mentality. But it’s also important that we are looking at the future and the long term goal of the senior team winning World Cups and EUROs.

On footballing culture: We have a fantastic relation with the U.S. federation not just with this age group. We play a lot of games in the all categories. That’s because we have similar ideas and programmes for the development of our teams. They are very respectful opposition always and I hope it’s the other way around as well. Tomorrow will be no different. It's a World Cup and it will be a strong game. But it is something that we want really because when you come to a World Cup, we want to test ourselves against the best.

On lack of success at senior level: We could just continue to do what we are doing. It isn’t just about winning the tournament. Of course, it’s fantastic to win. But it’s also about the way we are going about it and building for the future. All we can do is to have a plan, do what is right for the players and what is right for the teams. I also think that the success of the teams recently has to be recognition for the work that the clubs are doing. We have some fantastic academies in England and we have been working so hard. We should just continue that and I think people are taking notice of the talent that we have in our country and if we can keep up that, I am sure more opportunities and success will be around the corner.

The USA coach John Hackworth insisted that the team has worked hard and was playing well enough to challenge an in-form England. 

On playing style

USA coach: It’s something that we have worked really hard on.  It is very much an attacking style. We have certain principles that we feel are very important for player development.

On Sancho's absence

Jadon is a very good player and it’s very sad that he is not here. But we are going to have a tough match because they have a team full of talented players. I think no matter, who  steps on the field for England or US, tomorrow night, we are going to have a fantastic game.

On the possibility of match going into penalties

We would like to win in regulation. But we have practised penalties. In 2016, we played two games against them and both of our matches ended up being tied. They won one and we won one (penalties).

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