The group stage of the competition begins on Friday, where our youngsters will cross paths with Brazilian sides Fluminense and Cruzeiro.
We faced the latter side in the final match of the IMG Cup in Florida back in December, a late disallowed goal denying us victory in the game and in the overall tournament.
Matches against Dutch outfit Vitesse and Chinese side Dalian Aerbin follow on Saturday, with the latter stages of the tournament taking place on Sunday.
“I don’t think we can get enough of these types of competitions,” said Academy Manager John McDermott.
“I think we know what to expect. It is different – the matches are shorter in duration and there’s two games each day, so you’ve almost got to click into another mode of thinking.
“But this will be the sixth tournament we’ve been to this season, so hopefully it will be pretty automatic in the way we adapt to the different styles of play and different game formats.”
It’s been nearly three weeks since our youngsters’ last outing, a narrow 1-0 defeat at Everton in the Barclays Under-18 Premier League play-offs, but John insists the lads are looking forward to testing themselves against overseas opposition once again.
“We played Cruzeiro earlier in the season and we had a disallowed goal right at the end which meant we didn’t beat them, so I’m really looking forward to seeing how our boys perform against them and the other Brazilian side, Fluminense,” John added.
“We’ve also got the blend of playing against a Dutch team and a Chinese team, so it’s a very tough end to the season.
“The boys have had some down time after Everton and now hopefully we’ll do well at this tournament, which will see out the season.”