The Premier League have launched a new Under-21 competition
designed to bridge the gap between the academy and first team.
Teams from 17 Premier League and six Championship clubs,
effectively all those who applied for category one status, will be
divided into three groups.
The emphasis will be on playing Under-21 players, with each team
limited to just three over-age outfield players and one over-age
"Each stage of a player's development is tailored to ensuring they
have the best possible chance of progressing," Premier League
chief executive Richard Scudamore said.
"The new Barclays Under-21 Premier League addresses one of the
most critical points - the transition from academy football to the
highest standards in the first team.
"We believe this competitive environment, where fans can also
come along to watch the next generation of Premier League and
international players, will help deliver more talented home grown
boys to that next level."
National Group 1 - eight teams: Arsenal, Blackburn, Bolton, Everton
, Norwich, Reading, West Brom, West Ham.
National Group 2 - eight teams: Aston Villa, Manchester United,
Newcastle, Southampton, Stoke, Sunderland, Tottenham, Watford
National Group 3 - seven teams: Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Fulham,
Liverpool, Manchester City, Middlesbrough, Wolves.