Manchester United have named a their squad for the U19 Mercedes Benz Junior Cup which takes place between 3-4 January.
This year’s tournament will be the 25th anniversary of the competition and eight teams from five countries will compete for the jubilee title.
Manchester United will be joined by Fenerbahce, Celtic, Grasshopper Club Zürich, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (German u-19 champion), VfB Stuttgart, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Mercedes Benz Junior Cup holders Schalke 04.
The Reds have taken part in this tournament for the last two years but only three of the 11 man squad have played in the tournament previously.
Here is Paul McGuinness’ squad in full:
Forwards – Marcus Rashford.
United have been drawn in Group B alongside Grasshopper Club Zürich, VfB Stuttgart, and Schalke 04. They will play their group matches on Saturday 3 January.
Grasshopper Club Zürich (13:14)
VfB Stuttgart (14:23)
Schalke 04 (15:55)
* Local times (One hour ahead of GMT)
United will then have other fixtures which will depend upon their placing in Group B. They can face the sides from Group A which contain youth teams from Fenerbahce, Celtic, Fenerbahce, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and Borussia Mönchengladbach. Further matches will take place on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon.
This is a six-a-side tournament. The matches are played on artificial turf pitches surrounded on all sides with one metre high boarding. The corners of the pitches are round as in ice hockey. The matches are 18 minutes with a two minute half-time break.
Last year Nicky Butt’s squad finished third in the competition. However, United’s involvement was tainted by controversy when the young side were seemingly instructed not to play football while trailing 1-0 in a fixture against Grasshopper Club Zürich.
For the majority of the game United stayed in their half much to the chagrin of the onlooking crowd who made their disgust known with boos ringing out in the arena. It later transpired that a 1-0 defeat was sufficient to progress to the next round. Patron of the tournament Oliver Bierhoff was rightly furious and suggested that United would not be invited back to compete. Thankfully for our academy we have been allowed to participate this year but notably the coach taking charge has changed.