Liverpool and Manchester United Under-21s will become the latest Category One Academy sides to make an appearance in the EFL Trophy during the 2019/20 campaign.
Both sides will join current holders Portsmouth, after their triumph against Sunderland at Wembley Stadium in March, as well as Under-21 teams from Premier League rivals Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Arsenal in next year’s competition, with the Premier League top six from the 2018/19 campaign set to be fully represented in the competition for the first time.
The format, which sees 16 invited teams joined by the 48 Clubs in League One and League Two, continues to provide EFL Clubs with a platform for some of the country’s finest young talent to experience first-team football, alongside an opportunity to create additional revenue.
Invited teams are selected based on the club’s final league position at the end of the 2018/19 season, with the first 16 with Category One Academy status invited to take part.
The Round One Group Stage draw will take place in July, with the first round of fixtures scheduled to take place week commencing Monday 2 September.
The full list of invited Under-21 sides is as follows:
Arsenal Manchester City
Aston Villa Manchester United
Brighton & Hove Albion Newcastle United
Chelsea Norwich City
Fulham Tottenham Hotspur
Leicester City West Ham United
Liverpool Wolverhampton Wanderers
EFL Executive Chair, Debbie Jevans, said: “The EFL Trophy continues to grow and we are delighted to welcome Liverpool and Manchester United U21s to the competition.
“The recent feedback received from Clubs and coaches has been very positive with the current format continuing to offer greater revenue for our Clubs and competitive first team football for young talent.”