Kicking-off tomorrow (Friday, May 15), the group stage will see the lads playing twice a day against a range of different opponents in 40-minute matches.
We’re scheduled to take on South African side Ajax Cape Town (kick-off 3pm local time) and Belgian outfit Club Brugge (8pm local time) on the opening day before meeting Fluminense of Brazil (2.10pm local time) and Dutch giants AZ Alkmaar (5.30pm local time) on Saturday.
Liverpool are also involved at the tournament, with Coach Matt Wells calling for our players to seize their chance and impress against continental opposition.
“These international tournaments are a big part of our development programme for the boys,” said Matt. “It’s great for the players to be exposed to different styles of play and teams from other countries and we’ll be looking for them to excel against those styles and strategies.
“It’s always a big physical test in this sort of tournament as well and the volume of games provides a big challenge in itself. We play two 20-minute halves in each match so being effective on the pitch is very important – that applies to scoring, making and stopping goals.
“The boys played Fluminense at last year’s tournament and we’ve played Club Brugge at Under-21 level before so there’s a range of games for the players to look forward to.”
Elsewhere, Academy players Ismail Azzaoui and Marcus Edwards have both been among the goals at the UEFA Under-17 Championship in Bulgaria this week.
Ismail scored twice, including one from the penalty spot, to help Belgium register a 3-0 win over Czech Republic in Group B on Saturday, May 9, while Marcus netted the only goal of the game as England beat Republic of Ireland 1-0 in Group D on Wednesday, May 13.