Manchester United have always put an emphasis on the development of their young players. But ahead of the 2019-20 season, this will be even more important following the official announcement made on the club’s website. On Friday, it was confirmed that The Red Devils will take part in the EFL Trophy during the upcoming season.
But what is the EFL Trophy? And most importantly – how would this benefit the progression of the club’s youngsters?
First of all, we must be clear in the fact that Manchester United was invited to participate in this 64-team competition. It includes the entirety of League One and League Two sides plus 16 invited squads. This will be a historical edition of the competition, though. With both Liverpool and The Red Devils getting involved, it means all Top 6 will take part in the competition at the same time for the first time in the event’s history. But there’s more.
What are the rules regarding the EFL Trophy?
The rules are a little complicated but state the following: Manchester United must have at least six players aged 21 or younger by June 30, 2019 in the starting XI. There’s also a limit for more experienced players, since only two players over 21 years old with over 40 appearances for the senior side (either as a starter or as a substitute) can be used. Additionally, players who are out on loan are ineligible to play here. So Manchester United must make a decision. Will they send some of their top prospects on loan, or will they keep them at the club?
The draw will be made in July for regional groups. The top two in each pool qualifying for the knockout stages; these begin in September. From the round of 32 onwards, it’s the same structure as the FA Cup. There will be one-legged ties to determine which side advances further.
What does the coaching staff think about this?
We are looking forward to being involved in the EFL Trophy next season,” said Head of Academy Nicky Butt.
The competition provides a range of experiences that will act as the ideal platform for the development of our homegrown talent. We are always looking to be innovative in order to find the best development path for our young players; the opportunity to face senior opponents will benefit them greatly.”
So… which Manchester United players could be elegible?
The amount of talent Manchester United will have available for this tournament is huge. First-teamers Axel Tuanzebe and Scott McTominay could be elegible. But the youngsters is where the real talent is at. Promising figures such as Matej Kovar, Luca Ercolani, Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong and Mason Greenwood will likely feature regularly for the side. Playing in this tournament could do wonders for their development.
Let’s see if the move pays off. But on paper, it seems like a very good idea.