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Lois Fidler reserved special praise for her England Under-17 side after they narrowly missed out on a World Cup place, labelling them the best team she has ever worked with.
High praise indeed from a coach who has led a team to a World Cup semi final and seen several senior internationals move up from that level, but in the aftermath of their penalty shootout defeat to Italy in the UEFA Under-17 Championships third place play-off match, Lois said: "I have absolutely thoroughly enjoyed working with this team and I think Costa Rica will be a poorer place without an England side.
"I've been doing this job for a long time and had the privilege of working with a large number of players who have gone on to be senior internationals, but I don't think I've ever been prouder of, in my opinion, the best team I've ever worked with.
"The players have been fantastic, the staff have worked really hard and I've got nothing but high expectations for a number of these players moving on.
"I think the players need to remember what it feels like in this situation - you've got the whole of your careers ahead of you - remember what it feels like to see the opposition celebrating like that because it will be useful to you. Hold your heads up high, to be proud and bounce back and live to fight another day."
England captain Leah Williamson had a superb tournament and looks set to have an excellent future in the game. She reflected: "Congratulations to Italy, but we had our chances to win the game. It wasn't to be, though, and we've got to hold our heads high because we did deliver.
"We played well. England teams always get stronger as the tournament goes on. A lot of us have said that this is the tightest team we've played in.
"I'm just thankful to have had this opportunity and been part of it. It's proven to be a very valuable experience."
Leah also thanked the supporters who turned up to cheer England on during their five matches. "The support has been phenomenal," she said. "The atmosphere in the first game was crazy and something these players have never experienced.
"When you're performing on the pitch, you feel you're performing for them. It's been brilliant."
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