Young Yellows to face Porto, Chelsea and Borussia MonchengladbachNORWICH City's Under-21s development squad are set to take on the very best young talent in England and Europe as part of the newly launched Premier League International Cup.
The new competition will see eight English teams with Category One youth academies compete in a tournament with eight top teams from across Europe. Teams will compete in four groups before the winners and runners-up progress to semi-finals and finals. All games will be single-leg ties, and will all take place in England.
A: Chelsea, Norwich, Porto, Borussia Monchengladbach
B: Fulham, West Ham United, Athletic Club Bilbao, PSV Eindhoven
C: Leicester City, Manchester City, Benfica, Schalke
D: Everton, Sunderland, Celtic, Villareal
Group matches begin tonight (October 15), with West Ham taking on Athletic Club Bilbao at the Boleyn Ground, and will run through until January 31 2015.
A full fixture list and schedule of venues is due to be announced by the Premier League soon. With Norwich City's Under-21s attracting a record number of spectators for their Barclays U21 Premier League clash with Spurs last night, City fans should be able to look forward to at least two more exciting matchdays at Carrow Road.
Norwich City Academy Manager Gregg Broughton said the Academy were delighted to accept the Premier League's invitation.
"It was one we were over the moon to accept. Firstly because it gives us the ability to offer our Under-21s a more enhanced programme, but also the calibre of teams we will be playing gives the boys a completely different test," he said.
"We are delighted that at least two of these games will be played at Carrow Road and, after the success of last night's U21s match against Spurs, we are hoping to get more big crowds - the atmosphere of which are fantastic experiences for the players involved."
Broughton added that the three teams in City's group will all bring a unique test for the Academy's youngsters.
"We get to renew our rivalry with Chelsea after the FA Youth Cup last year. Porto is a Club competing in the Champions League, while Borussia Monchengladbach - as well having a strong European competition heritage - will be representing the World Champions as a German team. It will be a great test."
Premier League Director of Youth, Ged Roddy, said: "When we launched the Elite Player Performance Plan in 2012 we recognised that providing competitive opportunities for the 18-21 age group - against English and international opposition - was a key objective in order to prepare Academy players for Barclays Premier League football.
"Since then we are two seasons into a Barclays U21 Premier League that now sees each club play at least three matches at their main stadium, crowds in the thousands watching matches - including more than 10,000 at Norwich v Spurs - and several games broadcast live on Sky Sports and BT Sport.
"The Premier League International Cup will see some of the best young players in this country able to test themselves in competitive matches against some of most talented young players in Europe."
NEXT UP AT CARROW ROAD
Leeds United, Tuesday 21 October - 7:45pm