England head coach Steve Cooper insists his team will not get carried away after topping Group F and they are not looking any further than their pre-quarterfinal clash against Japan on Tuesday.
“It’s business as usual for us, we need to look back at our game, and rest, recover, prepare to get ready for a strong team Japan. We have two days to get our plans together,”
Cooper said after a 4-0 demolition of Iraq last night. “To top a tough group is something the players will get a lot of recognition for. Nobody is going to get carried away.”
England topped Group F with three wins from as many games that saw them score an overwhelming 11 goals and concede two. “It’s step by step. We are pleased obviously with qualification, the returns are good with nine points, scoring 11 goals and conceding two that’s very pleasing. The first objective was to qualify and get out of the group,” Cooper said.
“At the moment, we are looking no further than Japan. It’s a game we are looking forward to. It’s exciting and congratulations to them for qualifying,” he said.
The coach said they have ‘no update’ on the availability of their star forward Jadon Sancho for the last-16 match. Sancho, who is their leading scorer with three goals, did not travel with the squad as the Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund released him only after FA’s intervention as he was reported to be returning after the group stage.
“No lead on Jadon. At the moment he’s here with us recovering from another good game. There’s no news on that front,” Cooper said last night of Sancho, who rejected a 30,000 pound a week offer from Manchester City to join Dortmund in a projected 10 million pound deal.
Cooper said all their players had a chance to play and they are capable of making a difference. “We managed to get everyone out on the pitch. We showed we have 21 players who can start and make a difference in a tournament of this level. It was very important for the development of players. They all now have the experience of playing in this wonderful event,” he said about making eight
changes to their line-up last night.
“It’s difficult to pick the team for the next match now. There’s lot of good returns from the tournament so far. We wanted to get every player spend substantial amount of time on the pitch and doing that in three games is very pleasing.”
Cooper showered praise on Iraq for advancing to their first pre-quarterfinal in the U-17 World Cup. “They made a good job playing against Chile and Mexico. It was not by luck, they deserved the points and the qualification they had,” he said.