Steve Cooper knows better than most just how good Phil Foden can be for England in a major tournament and is backing the Manchester City forward to be a star at the World Cup.
Foden, who has been named in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the Qatar tournament which starts next week, was one of the heroes as England won the Under-17s World Cup in 2017 under Cooper.
He was named the player of the tournament, scored two goals in the final and put in a performance in the semi-final against Brazil where Cooper said he was the most Brazilian player on the pitch.
“There is no doubting Phil’s ability, he is showing now at Man City that he can produce on a big stage and he was doing that for England with my time with him,” Cooper said.
“He scored some really important goals, scored in the Euros finals for the 17s, I remember him scoring some really important goals in the World Cup, including a couple in the final.
“The performance he gave in the semi-final against Brazil was just fantastic. He played against Brazil and he was the most Brazilian player on the pitch.
Cooper, who also led the Young Lions to the final of the Under-17s Euros but lost, says those experiences will only help the youngsters in Southgate’s squad.
“That is what we did with the youth development teams. Go there to try and win a tournament but also with a process of giving them experiences and know-how that will serve them for the longer term, which in that world is World Cups and Euros.
“The guys that have managed to go though the system, there will be a lot of players in the squad who have played a lot of international football through their development years.
“There are a lot of lads in the first-team squad that will have had a lot of international experience going through the development process.”