England Under-17 coach Steve Cooper named Swansea City boss

Updated: 24/03/2023


England Under-17s had never been beyond the World Cup quarter-finals until they won the competition in 2017 under Steve Cooper

Swansea City have named England Under-17 World Cup-winning boss Steve Cooper as their new head coach on a three-year deal.

Welshman Cooper, 39, has left his post as under-17 coach to take over at the Championship club.

Cooper, who has also worked in the academies at Wrexham and Liverpool, will be assisted at Swansea by former Reds player Mike Marsh.

“I'm really excited about the challenge ahead,” Cooper said.

“This opportunity is something I've been working towards my whole life, certainly since I started coaching 22 years ago.

“I have already done a huge amount of homework on the playing style, the squad and plans for pre-season. Now I just can't wait to get started.”

Swansea have been searching for a new boss since Graham Potter left for Brighton in May.

Cooper arrives with a reputation as a high-class coach who wants his teams to play possession football.

Swansea spoke to more than 60 managerial candidates following Potter's exit, with John Eustace, Lee Bowyer, Cameron Toshack and Michael Appleton making the shortlist.

But it is understood Cooper was the unanimous choice of chairman Trevor Birch, adviser to the board Leon Britton and club president Alan Curtis, who then gave their recommendation to Swansea's American owners.

Graham Potter spent one season in charge at Swansea City before leaving for Brighton

The Football Association did not stand in Cooper's way when it became clear he wanted to take his first job in club management.

“I would like to place on record our thanks to Steve and Mike for their outstanding work and achievements here at The FA,” Les Reed, FA technical director, said.

“One of our key objectives is the England senior team being ready to win the World Cup in 2022.

“Both Steve and Mike played a pivotal part in developing players and our teams as we work towards that goal.”

The son of ex-Premier League referee Keith, former midfielder Cooper was on the books at Wrexham as a youngster but did not make the grade in the professional game.

He played for The New Saints, Rhyl, Bangor City and Porthmadog, but began coaching in the Wrexham youth set-up in his twenties.

He had made it to head of youth at Wrexham when he moved to Liverpool's academy in 2008, and switched to the FA five years later.

The likes of Phil Foden, Jadon Sancho and Callum Hudson-Odoi were in the squad Cooper led to glory at the Under-17 World Cup in 2017.

Vacancies to fill

Marsh, who worked alongside Cooper at the FA and previously at Anfield, has been named assistant coach.

He will not be the only new member of staff joining Swansea, who have a number of vacancies to fill.

Potter took assistant manager Billy Reid, coach Bjorn Hamberg and head of recruitment Kyle Macaulay with him to Brighton, while analyst Scott Helmich has also moved on this summer.

As well as rebuilding their first-team staff under Pontypridd-born Cooper, Swansea are to assemble a new recruitment team this summer.

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