WORLD CUP GLORY FOR WELSH COACH
WELSHMAN Steve Cooper yesterday guided England’s young guns to glory as his side came from two goals down to seal an enthralling 5-2 victory over Spain in the Under-17 World Cup final in Kolkata.
Cooper – whose Pontypridd-based father Keith was a Football League official from 1982-93 before stepping up to the Premier League for three seasons - looked set for more disappointment as his youngsters went 2-0 behind to the side who beat his Young Lions in the European Championship final.
But England produced a monumental comeback as Liverpool wonderkid Rhian Brewster – the hero of his side’s semi-final success against Brazil – pulled a goal back for the Young Lions on the stroke of halftime.
And second-half efforts from Morgan Gibbs White and Marc Guehi along with a brace from Man City ace Phil Foden sealed a truly dramatic win for England in India.
“I’m just so proud of the performance,” said Cooper, pictured above.
“We were 2-0 down and stuck to the game plan, we’re building to the future and that’s the way to do it.”
Cooper has a mediocre playing background being released by Wrexham after a couple of years as a professional.
He was then was offered a job working with the club’s under-11s and had brief spells in the Welsh Premier League at TNS, Rhyl, Bangor City and Porthmadog.
In between driving the minibus and marking the pitches at Wrexham, Cooper discovered the coaching side of the game.
After a three-year coaching career in the Wrexham Academy, Cooper moved onto working with the up and coming youngsters at Liverpool under Rafa Benitez.
In 2014 took on the England Under-16 manager’s job before moving up to the Under-17s in 2015.