After two consecutive disappointing exits at the quarter-final stage in recent years, Patrick Vieira’s youngsters will be hoping for a better all-round display this time around with another tough group ahead of them.
Patrick Roberts, 18, joined the sky Blues on a lucrative deal this summer – believed to be worth around £11m after add-ons. The former Fulham winger has shone as a bright light in an otherwise underwhelming Whites side, and made his Premier League debut at just 17-years-old.
How does it work?
The group stage of the youth competition is precisely the same as the seniors – playing their respective fixtures on the same day as their senior team-mates, but the kick-off times differ. Some matches can be as early as 1 or 2pm UK time, whilst others start at 5 or 6pm.
Not the traditional 7.45pm KO that most football fans are used to watching with Europe’s elite, but it’s still a neat feature that allows them to play on the same day nonetheless.
After the group stages have concluded though, the format is slightly different. The dates for the senior competition are relatively similar, but there is an open draw for the knockout stage, although no group winners can be drawn together in the last-16 of the tournament.
Who is eligible to feature?
The competition is predominantly for Under-19’s, with plenty of new faces hoping to impress and cement their positions within the side. Will Patching, David Faupala and Lukas Nmecha are amongst those who’ll be doing just that, whilst some familiar players have been included too.
New for this year’s tournament, teams can name three U-20 players. City have unsurprisingly picked their best crop – goalkeeper Angus Gunn, central midfielder Kean Bryan and exciting winger Brandon Barker; who flourished during the senior side’s pre-season tour of Australia and Asia.
City take on Juventus tonight, with kick-off scheduled for a 6pm start at the City Academy Stadium. Can the young Blues get off to a good start against tough opposition?