England’s diverse side ready to make statement in under-17 World Cup final

On the eve of facing Spain Lord Ouseley rejoices that players from BAME backgrounds are ‘now judged on whether they can play football and nothing else’

About 100 words into Lord Ouseley’s latest statement on behalf of Kick It Out on Thursday questioning the suitability of those in charge of the Football Association to continue in their posts after the Eni Aluko/Mark Sampson controversy, there were two sentences that stood out. “When you look at the recent success of England’s youth sides, particularly the achievements of the under?17s men’s team, you will see a high level of diverse representation on the field,” he wrote. “That is the only area in which English football seems to treat black and minority ethnic people fairly.”

To anyone who has watched the progress of Steve Cooper’s side to Saturday’s final against Spain – or indeed their under-20s counterparts’ victory in their equivalent World Cup in June – Ouseley was stating the obvious. Of the team that started the thrilling 3-1 victory against Brazil on Wednesday, eight came from a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background, as did five other members of the 21-man squad.

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