England are among the tournament favourites in the FIFA U-17 World Cup but their coach Steve Cooper refused to take any side for granted ahead of his side’s campaign opener against Chile on Sunday.
The Young Lions almost won the European qualifying event, losing to Spain in the final on penalty shootout. They won 11 matches throughout the UEFA U-17 European Championship qualifying and elite rounds.
“We begin our campaign against Chile. They are a strong side like all the teams in our group. But we play our own style and we will take the game to the opponent. We are not taking anyone for granted,” Cooper said at the pre-match press conference.
“The stadium is a magnificent one and it deserves to host World Cup matches and we can’t wait to play in front of a capacity crowd,” he said.
He said he had sought advice from English officials working in India about the conditions in India.
“I contacted the managers and the support staff who have been based in India. Stephen Constantine has helped us, so has Ashley (Westwood). Their advice have been very helpful.”
Captain Marc Guehi said he was both excited and nervous at the same time, but was raring to go for the tournament.
“It’s a World Cup. It’s a fantastic opportunity for all the players to break into the first team (of respective clubs) in the years to come and I can’t wait to get it started,” said Guehi, who plays for Chelsea’s youth side.