Mansfield Town could come up against the future stars of Liverpool and Manchester United after it was announced the Premier League giants’ U21s will take part in the coming season’s EFL Trophy.
They will join current holders Portsmouth as well as U21 teams from Premier League rivals Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Arsenal with the Premier League top six from the 2018/19 campaign set to be fully represented in the competition for the first time.
The format, which sees 16 invited teams joined by the 48 Clubs in League One and League Two, is intended to provide EFL Clubs with a platform for some of the country’s finest young talent to experience first team football.
Invited teams are selected based on the club’s final league position at the end of the 2018/19 season, with the first 16 with Category One Academy status invited to take part.
The Round One Group Stage draw will take place in July, with the first round of fixtures scheduled to take place week commencing Monday, 2nd September.
This season’s invited U21 sides are Arsenal, Manchester City, Aston Villa, Manchester United, Brighton & Hove Albion, Newcastle United, Chelsea, Norwich City, Everton, Southampton, Fulham, Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City, West Ham United, Liverpool, and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
EFL executive chair Debbie Jevans, said: “The EFL Trophy continues to grow and we are delighted to welcome Liverpool and Manchester United U21s to the competition.
“The recent feedback received from clubs and coaches has been very positive with the current format continuing to offer greater revenue for our clubs and competitive first team football for young talent.”