City to face Barcelona
- Wed 22 Jun 2011, 7:54AM
- Posted by Peter Ferguson
City will be at the forefront of a football revolution this season when the club's young players tackle Europe's elite in the Nextgen Series.
The six-month international competition will pit the continent's best Under-19 players against each other as leading clubs usher in a new era for their emerging youngsters.
The pioneering Blues, coached by Andy Welsh, will face European champions Barcelona at Hyde on 15 September as they contest a group stage that also features Scottish giants Celtic and leading French outfit Marseille.
The group games will be played on a home and away basis from August, with the top two teams from four groups progressing to a knockout phase to decide who will be the Nextgen champions in January.
City will field a mix of Elite Development Squad players and Academy prospects - clubs are allowed to include three Under-20 players in each predominantly Under-19 tie.
Marseille and Celtic will get the group under way on 17 August. The 48-game tournament is also intended to act as a proving ground for up-and-coming referees.
City's Elite Development Squad will accomodate competing in the Nextgen Series by no longer entering the the Barclays Premier Reserve League. Other matches will include both the Manchester and Lancashire Senior Cups, and prestige friendlies. We will publish fixture details in the near future.