The NextGen Series, the exciting European competition showcasing football’s finest young stars, has today confirmed Arsenal F.C. as the fourth new club to sign up to the tournament’s second season.
Arsenal joins Chelsea FC, Olympiacos and PSG in signing up for next season’s NextGen Series as the competition expands from 16 to 24 clubs. The Gunners are now the seventh British team competing alongside Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa, Celtic and Chelsea – they join some of Europe’s most elite teams, including Barcelona, Ajax, Inter Milan and Sporting Lisbon.
The tournament has proven to be a huge success in its first year, providing Europe’s finest youth talent with a solid platform on which to hone their skills in a competitive international environment.
Arsenal Manager Arsène Wenger said: “We are excited about joining the NextGen Series next season. It’s a very good challenge to confront yourselves with the best young players in Europe. We have spoken to Inter Milan, who practiced at our Training Ground ahead of a NextGen match and they said their players improved tremendously through the season because of the quality of the competition. You play against the best players of your age and it will be a very interesting experience for us. It’s also a good way to assess your players and to give you an idea of the future potential of the Club.”
Head of Youth Development at Arsenal, Liam Brady said: “We are delighted to be involved in the NextGen Series and are looking forward to participating in the competition. It will provide our young players with fantastic experience against high quality opposition from around Europe. We always try to give our young players wider experience through participating in International tournaments, but NextGen takes this to the next level. We watched NextGen this season with great interest and the standard of competition was very high and will therefore offer a good challenge to our young players.”
Commenting on Arsenal’s participation in next season’s NextGen Series, Justin Andrews, the tournament’s co-founder said: “Arsenal have one of the finest youth academies in the world, it is brilliant news to be adding them to the list of Europe’s most distinguished clubs. We are very excited to be taking NextGen into its second year and hope to continue with the success of the inaugural season.”
The winners of the inaugural NextGen Series were Internazionale Milano, beating AFC Ajax on penalties in the final played at London’s Leyton Orient on March 25th 2012.