The EFL confirmed the invited Premier League and Championship Under 23 sides that will take part in this season’s EFL Trophy – or Checkatrade Trophy – on Monday.
The EFL are of course still insistent on describing such sides as Under 21 teams, but the whole Elite Player Performance Plan that is followed these days is based on Under 23 sides, however it continues to be a useful ruse to explain why since the trial began League One and Two sides have faced seasoned professionals and international calibre players, when the whole trial was supposed to be about blooding homegrown youngsters from top tier teams to give them stronger competitive action and experience.
For the 2018/19 version of the tournament, the following sides have been invited to take part:
Brighton and Hove Albion
West Bromwich Albion
All sides boast Category One Academy Status as required for an invite and the Round One Group Stage draw will take place in the week beginning Monday, September 3.
Compared to 2017/18, there have been a couple of rule changes that are more in the spirit of what the competition was designed to provide.
Clubs can now name players who are out on loan at National League level clubs, and invited teams can only feature two players who are over the age of 21 and have made more than 40 first-team appearances, so there will be more of a youthful outlook as there should’ve always been.
Be interesting to see whose youngsters steal the show this season as fans of each invited side will have their own picks on who could make it their breakthrough tournament this coming season.