Wales On Sunday - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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