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Man City academy chief Allen delighted to be part of Nextgen Series

Manchester City academy chief Mark Allen is delighted they'll be competing in this season's Nextgen Series.

The Nextgen Series is a virtual Champions League competition for U19 teams.

City will contest a group that also features Barcelona, Celtic and Marseille, with the top two teams progressing to an eight-team knockout to be staged in January.

Allen told City's website: "We'll be competing against the best in Europe, a la the Champions League format, and we see it as an important chapter in the development of Manchester City.

"Barcelona at Hyde will not take much getting up for! That will go down well with everybody. Who knows, we might be seeing the new Lionel Messi on a Thursday night at Hyde.

"It's the next stepping stone, so as they come through the Academy system there is the platform for them to be playing football at a level that is commensurate with their development.

"It will prepare them for those balmy nights we'll hopefully have in the Champions League as the club moves forward. We want to prepare them for what they will encounter as fully-fledged professionals.

"The average age for a Premier League debut is becoming older, 21 or 22 when before it might have been 17 or 18. You have to bridge that gap and prepare them for a better standard of football."

 It's kicking off again! Click here for your No1 source for Manchester City transfer market news and gossip.

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