Blues gear up for NextGen big night
- Mon 22 Aug 2011, 3:48PM
- Posted by Peter Ferguson
The NextGen Series countdown is on! The pioneering tournament is off to a rousing start - and City's youngsters are getting ready to tackle opening rivals Barcelona at Hyde on 15 September.
The competition, taking in 11 countries, is organised with the notion of being a Champions League for Under-19s, and City's intriguing group includes Celtic and Marseille as well as Barcelona.
Organisers believe the NextGen Series heralds a thrilling new era, featuring as it does the next generation of world-class players being nurtured by some of the biggest clubs in Europe.
As City's Mark Allen points out, the home-and-away group gives up-and-coming young players the unprecedented opportunity to experience all aspects of a competitive international tournament.
The challenges the youngsters will face, such as adapting to unfamiliar styles of play, prolonged periods of travel and 'two-match weeks', will help them make the transition to the first team.
For the fans, the tournament is a great chance to watch young talents in the making - a few years ago a young Lionel Messi might well have been making the trip to Hyde next month.
Liverpool aren't the only competing club staging games at their main stadium - Celtic Park, Sporting's Estádio José Alvalade, and Villa Park are all earmarked for future fixtures as well.
The top two clubs in each group progress to a knockout stage, concluding with the final in January.
City's squad for the tournament will be named soon, and we'll be with the young Blues every step of the way, starting with that big, not-to-be-missed night against Barcelona.