The Real Footie Analyst

The EPL is set to launch a new Under-21 league

epl-logoThe Premier League has confirmed the creation of a new Under-21 competition to bridge the gap between clubs’ academies and their first team.

The first national showcase for Under-21 players will launch on 17 August when Chelsea host Manchester City and Reading visit West Ham. Teams from 17 Premier League and six Championship clubs – in effect all those who applied for category one status – will be divided into three groups.

From January the sides will then be placed into three pools based on their performance, leading to a knockout stage and final. The emphasis will be on playing Under-21 players with each team limited to three over-age outfield players and one over-age goalkeeper.

“Each stage of a player’s development is tailored to ensuring they have the best possible chance of progressing,” said Richard Scudamore, the Premier League chief executive.

“The new league addresses one of the most critical points – the transition from academy football to the highest standards in the first team.

“We believe this competitive environment, where fans can also come along to watch the next generation of Premier League and international players, will help deliver more talented home grown boys to that next level.”

National Group 1: Arsenal, Blackburn, Bolton, Everton, Norwich, Reading, West Brom, West Ham.

National Group 2: Aston Villa, Manchester United, Newcastle, Southampton, Stoke, Sunderland, Tottenham, Watford.

National Group 3: Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Liverpool, Manchester City, Middlesbrough, Wolves.

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