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Season 2013/14

UEFA Youth League: Introduction

  • 27 August 2013 10:57
  • Posted by @markbooth_mcfc

City’s first-team won’t be alone in being glued to the UEFA Champions League draw on Thursday evening.

Patrick Vieira’s Elite Development Squad will be anxiously awaiting it too, as they will be taking part in the UEFA Youth League, a new tournament which mirrors the Champions League.

Whoever the Blues meet in Europe’s premier club competition, the EDS will meet an under-19 selection from the same club.

It’s the first year of the new competition which promises to bring together the cream of the continent’s youth talent.

All 32 clubs who qualify for the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League group stages will participate in the competition with fixtures being played around or on the same dates as the first-team matches at grounds in close proximity to the first-team stadiums.

The eight group winners and eight runners up will then participate in the knockout rounds where the competition splits off from its first-team equivalent.

"We believe the UEFA Youth League is an attractive additional proposition for UEFA Champions League clubs," said UEFA President Michel Platini.

"We have now created a competitive opportunity for youth players to be involved in international matches at club level. It allows us to provide a development opportunity and great experience not only for the players, but also for referees, who will be appointed on an international basis

“There are benefits for clubs, as they will be able to bridge the gap between their youth and first teams, and enhance their commitment to developing their teams at youth level.”

...Michel Platini - UEFA President...

City EDS assistant manager Simon Davies believes that the competition will be a fantastic learning process for the team as they continue on with their personal development plans.

“Where we’ve learned the most, especially with the younger Academy teams, is when we’ve played abroad,” Davies stated.

“We’re not the finished article by any means, but locally we play well and win against the majority of English teams – like I say, we’ve still got work to do, but the biggest challenge for us is going to Benfica, Ajax and Barcelona and competing there at the very top level.

“Staying in hotels, travelling on coaches, playing in hostile environments – this is all part of the development process."

...Simon Davies - City EDS Assistant Manager...

“The game might be slower, it might be more technical, so it might be a tactical challenge too and it’s a great education for the players as we try to get them ready for the first-team level.”

It was announced in the last month that the NextGen Series has been postponed this season due to a lack of definite funding for the competition, meaning that the UEFA Youth League is the only European competition City will contest at this level in 2013/14.

We’ll be tweeting the draw live on Thursday at 5.45pm and bringing you all of the reaction to it here on mcfc.co.uk.

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