England Under-17 coach Steve Cooper has hailed India coach Stephen Constantine for his help in setting up in the training camp in Mumbai. The Young Lions played against New Zealand Under-17 on Sunday evening at the Mumbai Football Arena and won 3-2 in what was their final practice game.
It is reliably learnt that Cooper invited Constantine to watch one of their training sessions in Mumbai and hailed the work done by the former Rwanda coach in India to his boys.
“We have reached out to some people who have worked in India. The India national team manager, Stephen Constantine, has been a real help and I’ve been fascinated at some of the stories that he’s had to tell,” Cooper told the FA’s official website.
He also praised Jamshedpur FC coach Steve Coppell and the Atletico de Kolkata duo of Teddy Sheringham and Ashley Westwood for their insights into the Indian market.
“Steve Coppell has managed out there and I’ve had a great conversation with him too and we have some other staff members who have worked out here in terms of sports science.
“Ashley Westwood is the technical director at Kolkata, where Teddy Sheringham is the manager, and they’ve all helped to give us a really good insight into what it looks like in India and hopefully that information can be valuable in terms of our preparation,” he mentioned.
England have been training at St.George’s Park in August and September and played against the likes of Brazil and South Africa. Cooper explained the importance of preparing for the Under-17 World Cup.
“Preparation is always key, you’re coming together as individuals and trying to become a team as quickly as you can. Particularly in World Cups, acclimatization and getting used to the culture and the surroundings is going to be important.
“Let’s not forget, they’re only 17 and they only experienced their first major tournament at the U17 Finals in Croatia earlier this year, where they did brilliantly.
So this is going to be a new experience all-round for them and preparation for it is key,” he said.
England play their first game this Sunday against Chile at the refurbished Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata.Cooper was intrigued by the popularity and interest generated for the Under-17 World Cup in India.
“It’s a good life experience for them to go to India and I think it’s really important for the boys to experience what football looks like in other parts of the world. We want to interact with the local people in Kolkata so they recognize that we’re going to be part of their community whilst we’re there.
“I was so impressed with the interest from the Indian people, there’s a real buzz around the country about hosting the World Cup and a lot of interest. I have no doubt that it will be an amazing World Cup and the support will be at the same level.
“There’s a real interest in the Premier League and English football, so if we’re bringing part of that to India, it’s important that we give a bit back as well,” he signed off.