Royals entered into prestigious European tournament with Premier League Cup format change also announced…In 2016/17 the Royals will be entering an U23 side into the Premier League International Cup, in a tournament that will see Reading go head to head with some of Europe's top youth sides.
The likes of Porto, PSV Eindhoven, Valencia, Wolfsburg and Benfica will all be taking part in the prestigious tournament which was won last season by Villarreal, who will be looking to retain their trophy in the forthcoming competition. This season, the number of teams participating in the International Cup has been increased from 16 to 24, and the Royals will enter the tournament for the first time in 2016-17.
The tournament will give Martin Kuhl’s Category One Academy products a chance to test their talents against some of Europe’s biggest clubs following their impressive campaign in the Barclays U21 Premier League last season.
The format of the International Cup, which will take place solely in England, will see 24 clubs - 12 from England and the other half from the continent - competing in six groups of four teams with each side playing each other once.
There will be two representatives from Europe and two from England in every group, with the top club in each plus the two best placed runners-up advancing to the knockout stages of the competition.
The Premier League International Cup permits three over-aged players in addition to an over-aged goalkeeper and the fixtures will be released at a later date.
Clubs entering this season’s Premier League International Cup:
Premier League 2 clubs: Aston Villa, Chelsea, Derby County, Everton, Leicester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Middlesbrough, Norwich City, Reading, Sunderland, Swansea City.
Invited international clubs: Athletic Club, Benfica, Celtic, Dinamo Zagreb, Feyenoord, Hertha Berlin, Porto, PSV Eindhoven, Sparta Prague, Valencia, Villarreal, Wolfsburg.
The Premier League Cup
As well as their involvement in the Premier League 2 and the Premier League International Cup in coming season, the Royals U23 side will once again be competing in the Premier League Cup which will be changing its format for 2016-17.
The competition will be in a ‘Champions League’ style with a group stage followed by a Round of 16 knockout for the teams that progress through the groups.
Reading’s opening game of the Premier League Cup group stage will be played between the 30th of September and the 3rd of October, with the knockout stages commencing from the 17th March 2017.