- England U-17s based in Kolkata for duration of group stage
- They top Group F with six points from two matches
- Six players and coach Steve Cooper went to a school to meet and train with local children
After starting off their FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 campaign impressively with two wins from two matches, some of England's youngsters took time out of their schedule to impress in a different way.
Six players joined coach Steve Cooper at a school in Kolkata on Thursday where they ran through drills and played football with local children. They also talked about their impressions of India, took photographs and handed out gifts and autographs at The Newtown School in India’s “City of Joy”.
“Playing football with the local kids today was an amazing experience,” said Manchester United’s Angel Gomes, who was joined by Manchester City duo Joel Latibeaudiere, Curtis Anderson, Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho, Chelsea’s George McEachran and Reading’s Danny Loader.
“Having spent a week in Kolkata, it was really nice to get out and spend some time in the community. We’re really happy to be here, the support has been amazing,” said the highly-touted Gomes, who became the first player born in the 2000s to play in the English Premier League last season.
A bond with the local community
Many of the children came from the Kolkata Goalz programme, a development initiative intended to help improve relationships between at-risk children and local authorities using sport.
Cooper said of the visit: “We’ve enjoyed being based in Kolkata, and it was important to us to get out into the community whilst we were here. We have all enjoyed spending time with the local children, and I think the players were impressed with their football skills! It has been a day we will all remember. We’d like to thank the people of Kolkata for the warm welcome to this wonderful city and look forward to playing our final group stage game here on Saturday.”
The Young Lions close the opening stage of the tournament against Iraq on Saturday. They have already qualified for the Round of 16 and are fighting to win the group and stay in Kolkata for their next match.