LEWIS Cook hailed “the best day of my life” after becoming only the second man to captain an England football team to World Cup glory.

Cherries midfielder Cook led his country to a compelling 1-0 victory over Venezuela in today’s under-20 final in South Korea.

And it was his free-kick 10 minutes before half-time that created the opening for striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin to become the third Englishman – after Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters – to score in a global final.

“It was unbelievable, the best day of my life, by far,” said Cook. “It has not sunk in yet. I am so proud of all the lads and the staff. I want to say a massive thank you to my family and my friends for all their support.

“It has been a wonderful day and a wonderful experience being here in Korea. We have topped it off with a win and it was the best day. I could not have asked for any more from the lads. It was incredible.”

Venezuela goalkeeper Wuilker Farinez saved at Everton player Calvert-Lewin’s feet shortly after the goal and Josh Onomah rattled the bar with a terrific second-half effort.

But as they edged closer to immortality, the Young Lions came under severe pressure from their technically proficient South American opponents. With 17 minutes to play, defender Jake Clarke-Salter was penalised for fouling Adalberto Penaranda in the box.

Watford forward Penaranda took the penalty but was thwarted by a brilliant save from Newcastle’s Freddie Woodman, voted the tournament’s best goalkeeper.

“Venezuela were really good,” said Cook. “Credit to them, they came at us in the last 30 minutes and it was really tough – but luckily enough they did not get the goal. But not every game can be pretty. We got the win and we are the champions.”

Asked what he was thinking when Venezuela were awarded the penalty – a decision referred to the video assistant referee being used in the competition – Cook said: “I was looking at Freddie thinking ‘come on, you can do this, you can save us’ and he did.

“He is a wonderful keeper, a great lad and I am so happy he won the golden glove as well. He fully deserved it, he works so hard and is such a dedicated person.”

Cook blasted home a long-range strike in England’s group game with Guinea and supplied the key pass for Dominic Solanke to score the goal that knocked out Mexico in the quarter-finals.

He was also one of the driving forces behind the 3-1 victory over Italy in the last four. No player in the competition made more tackles (23) or interceptions (eight) than Cook, who has joined 1966 World Cup-winning skipper Bobby Moore in English football’s hall of fame.

He added: “The whole tournament’s been great. Everyone here is so friendly. Now I’m going back to see my family in the hotel and we’ll have a really good time.”