United confirm entry into the EFL Trophy
Manchester United will take part in the EFL Trophy for the first time next season.
The Reds will be entering a young, primarily Under-21, team in the competition, which was also known as the Checkatrade Trophy and started out as the Associate Members Cup. With Liverpool also competing for the first time, it means the Premier League's top clubs are all involved as six of the 16 invited sides who will face the 48 League One and League Two teams.
It should provide more experience for our young Academy players against senior sides from the lower divisions, which can be an important stage in their development.
WHY ARE WE TAKING PART?
"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."
WHO WILL PLAY FOR UNITED?
The rules are a little complicated but state we must have at least six of the starting XI aged 21 or under by 30 June this year, and no more than two players who are over 21 and have made more than 40 appearances for the first team (either in the XI or as a playing substitute) - again, as of 30 June.
Players who are out on loan are ineligible for this competition.
It is not possible to appear for more than one club in the tournament so the cup-tied rule applies.
WHAT IS THE EFL TROPHY FORMAT?
The draw will be made in July for regional groups, with the top two in each pool qualifying for the knockout stages - which begin in early September. Each group will contain an 'invited' club.
United, as one of these teams, will be away from home in the group games, with three points awarded for a win and none for a defeat. If there is a draw, the teams get a point apiece but a penalty shoot-out allows the successful side to earn an additional point.
From the round of 32 onwards, one-off ties are used to determine which team progresses. The northern and southern winners then meet at Wembley in the final.
The cup was lifted by Portsmouth this year after they beat fellow League One side Sunderland on penalties in front of a record crowd of 85,021.Reading this in our app? If not, you might miss some exclusive features not found on ManUtd.com. Download the Official App here.