Youth

Premier League International Cup: Format explained

31/07/2015
Villarreal B won the 2015/16 PL International Cup

Man City and Villarreal are previous winners in a competition that combines top English and European youth sides

Twelve of England's best academy sides compete against 12 of the top development squads in the rest of Europe in the Premier League International Cup.

The knockout tournament, now stretched from 16 to 24 teams from 2016/17, was introduced for the 2014/15 season to give home-grown talent the chance to test themselves against the best young players in the continent and adapt to the demands and different styles of domestic and European football, something they will have to cope with if they play UEFA Champions League or Europa League matches in their senior careers.

Manchester City were the 2014/15 winners
Manchester City were the 2014/15 winners

Fittingly, one English team and one European side have been crowned International Cup champions in the competition's first two seasons.

Manchester City were the inaugural winners after beating Porto B 1-0 in the final at the City Academy Stadium, while Villarreal emerged victorious in 2015/16 final, when they beat PSV Eindhoven's Jong PSV 4-2 after extra-time at Millwall's New Den.

Twelve teams in Premier League 2 are invited to represent England in the tournament, while European teams that qualify for the knockout stages are guaranteed an invite for the following season's competition. Valencia, Feyernoord and Sparta Prague, Dinamo Zagreb, Wolfsburg and Hertha Berlin are the new international entrants in 2016/17.

In the knockout stages, the ties are decided in one-off matches, with extra-time and then penalties required if the match is level after 90 minutes.

Teams competing in the PL International Cup will be made up of Under-23 players, aside from a maximum of three outfield players and the goalkeeper, who can be born before 1 January 1993. All matches are played in England.

Teams in 2016/17 International Cup

Premier League 2
Aston Villa, Chelsea, Derby County, Everton, Leicester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Middlesbrough, Norwich City, Reading, Sunderland, Swansea City
International clubs
Sparta Prague, Athletic Club Bilbao, Celtic, Dinamo Zagreb, Porto, Feyenoord, Hertha Berlin, PSV Eindhoven, Benfica, Valencia, Villarreal, Wolfsburg

Past PL International Cup winners

2015/16: Villarreal B
2014/15: Manchester City

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