WELSH PREMIER FOOTBALL

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A FORMER Welsh Premier player has led England Under-17s to the FIFA World Cup final after beating Brazil 3-1 in Kolkata on Wednesday.

Steve Cooper made 47 (+20) appearances for TNS, Bangor City and Rhyl, scoring three goals, after being released by Wrexham without making an appearance for the club. While with the Citizens, he appeared as a substitute in the Uefa Cup qualifying round tie against Sartid Smederevo in 2002.

At the age of 27, Cooper became one of the youngest-ever coaches to gain the UEFA Pro Licence and, after being head of youth development at Wrexham, joined Liverpool in September 2008, initially taking charge of the Under-12s before being named academy manager in July 2011.

The 37-year-old joined the FA as Youth Coach Educator in 2013 and was appointed as manager of the England Under-16s in October 2014 before being put in charge of the Under-17s a year later.

Cooper, who is the son of former Premier League referee Keith Cooper, hopes to erase the disappointment of losing to Spain in the European Championship final five months ago when his team meet the same opponents in Saturday's showpiece.

England's victory over Brazil was built on a hat-trick from Liverpool's Rhian Brewster.