The youngsters are flying out to San Sebastian today to take part in the prestigious event, held by Real Sociedad FC and kick off the tournament with a game against the hosts tomorrow.
The 18-man squad includes most of the team which has done so well to reach the FA Youth Cup semi-finals this season, together with a number of schoolboys. The tournament will be great preparation for the two-legged semi-finals of the youth cup, against Ipswich Town on April 8 and 13.
The International Youth Tournament includes eight teams split into two groups of four, with the winners of each group meeting in the Final. We have been drawn in Group A with Real Sociedad, CA Osasuna and Real Madrid, while Barcelona, Fiorentina, Athletic Club and Gipuzkoa Konbinatua make up Group B.
After tomorrow’s match with the hosts, we then meet Osasuna on Saturday and Real Madrid on Sunday. The final takes place on Easter Monday.
Coach Pat Holland said: “The boys are on a bit of a high having reached the semi-finals of the youth cup, so it will be good for them to go to a tournament like this, giving them more experience at a very good level of football.
“We’re missing Phil Ifil and Leigh Mills who are on international duty, which is a shame because you want to take your best available team, but we’ve got five schoolboys in the squad and it will be great for them.
“We played in this competition about six or seven years ago and we had players such as Ledley King, Peter Crouch and Luke Young in our squad — all of who have gone on to play in the Premiership.
“It should be a good tournament and we’re looking forward to it.”
Our youth team squad will be competing against the likes of Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona at the XXI International Youth Tournament which begins in Spain tomorrow.