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Villa youngsters set to clash with the cream of Europe in international competition

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There’s a bunch of opportunities this season for Villa’s youth!

Aston Villa v Newcastle United - Premier League Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Aston Villa will be taking part in the ‘Premier League International Cup’ for the coming 2016/2017 season.

It’s Villa’s players under the age of 23 who will be taking part in this tournament featuring the likes of Manchester United, Benfica, Valencia and other teams sourced from England and Europe.

Here’s Villa’s official story:

The competition will be open to players U23 so that Clubs will be permitted to name three over age outfield players and one overage goalkeeper. It sees twelve of England’s best academy sides compete against twelve of the top development squads in the rest of Europe.

The competition is split into six groups of four Clubs.

Group A: Derby County, Sunderland, PSV Eindhoven, SL Benfica.

Group B: Manchester United, Middlesbrough, AC Sparta Prague, Villarreal CF.

Group C: Leicester City, Liverpool, FC Porto, VfL Wolfsburg.

Group D: Chelsea, Swansea City, GNK Dinamo Zagreb, Feyenoord.

Group E: Aston Villa, Norwich City, Celtic, Valencia.

Group F: Everton, Reading, Athletic Club Bilbao, Hertha BSC.

The Premier League International Cup is part of a complete rebrand of England’s youth and reserve tournaments. Previously featuring players under the age of 21, the range of the tournament has been pushed up by two years to 23, meaning there’s more chance for youth players to get a shot in reserve competitions instead of stagnating.

The old reserve league is now called ‘Premier League 2’, which features two divisions, Aston Villa being in the lower division (Premier League 2: Division 2). This league features promotion and relegation between the two divisions. Villa will also compete for the EFL Trophy amongst the first teams of clubs in the lower leagues of the Football League structure as well as a reserve youth cup - ‘The Premier League Cup’.

This means there’s plenty of chances for Villa’s young players to shine and get valuable match time!