Everton U23s find out their group opponents as the Premier League Cup returns

Thursday, 26 August, 2021 11comments  |  Jump to last

Everton U23s will face Burnley, Sheffield United and Peterborough United in the group stages of the Premier League Cup this season.

The U23 tournament wasn't staged last season to reduce the fixture programme during the pandemic but the Academy competition has been reinstated for the 2021-22 season, and Everton will now face three pairs of home and away fixtures in Group D as they look to progress to the knock-out stages.

The top two U23 teams from each group will progress to the last-16 and a straight knock-out competition to the final.

Three games have also been announced in the EFL (Papa John) Trophy, where Everton field U21 sides to play against League One and League Two opposition. Morecambe, Carlisle Utd and Peterborough are in Everton's group.


Reader Comments (11)

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Phill Thompson
1 Posted 27/08/2021 at 11:50:56
As a minimum, we should get out of this group. Expectation will be we win the group as, on paper, the other teams are not as good as ours, ie, they play in lower levels at U23s.
Michael Kenrick
2 Posted 27/08/2021 at 21:04:05
Glad you're so confident, Phil. I just see boys against men so far – they've just been done for kippers by newbies Crystal Palace, who've never played at this level before.

But winning trophies is to be frowned upon (apparently) which means winning cup games is not necessary – it's all about grooming players for the first team. What does it matter if they can't play together? And win as a team???

Tony Abrahams
3 Posted 27/08/2021 at 21:18:31
Maybe not ready to win as a team, but I thought they played like a team though Michael, and they also won’t stay boys forever?
Michael Kenrick
4 Posted 27/08/2021 at 21:28:13
Well, that's maybe what Unsworth is actually good at – getting them to play as a team. But I was told on another thread that it is not actually a team game. Not at academy level. (I'm still trying to digest that one... probably taking it too literally!)

Yes, you're probably right, they won't stay boys forever. And the other sides they face could possibly get older too... at exactly the same rate (ie, one day at a time!) – thus maintaining this experience divide that they are struggling so much to overcome at the moment.

Tony Abrahams
5 Posted 27/08/2021 at 21:41:31
I wonder if there are going to be similar divisive opinions at the club, Michael? and being literal myself, I'd be really disgusted if we are employing a manager who couldn't get his players to play as a team.

It's a massive learning curve but I'm sure the players can adapt, and will also learn a lot more at this level, than playing Under-18 football every week.

I also understand that winning is very important, and obviously helps development. One of the most pleasing things I saw tonight was that the kids were working very hard, and nobody's head went down, which is even more important than winning sometimes, although not everyone will see it this way.

Danny O’Neill
6 Posted 28/08/2021 at 00:38:23
Playing as a team is important.

Depending on the age, results and winning are not. It's a fine balance for a coach to make players realise they are progressing even if the results aren't going their way.

I think by the time we get to U23s, we're past the true youth development stage?

Remind me; and this is a genuine question. Hasn't Unsworth's role moved on? Isn't he more than just the manager of the U23s now? I thought he is now more of a Director of the Academy? Forgive me for not knowing the exact position or title.

Don Alexander
7 Posted 28/08/2021 at 01:23:55
Danny (#6) it's fair comment to some extent to say what you say but the stark facts are that our "Academy" has been for decades all but useless at producing first-team players or players sought by other clubs for more than pocket-change transfer fees, at best.

Still, we continue with Unsy in charge for years, now allegedly given an enhanced role, just like his boardroom guardian angel.

Meanwhile the Academy players seem (by him at least) to be expected to make the grade regardless of the actual football on the pitch and our defeats that accrue from it.

Typical of USM Soft Arse Farm I'd say, and it can't change quick enough for me.

Tony Abrahams
8 Posted 28/08/2021 at 07:33:06
Just read a report on Branthwaite, on the Echo website, and I wouldn't be surprised if he stays and plays Under-23 football this season, after reading what Benitez had to say.

I'm all for giving as many young footballers a chance as possible, because it's the only way you will ever find out if they are good enough, but perhaps Michael K, is correct, and it could be detrimental to continue playing such a young team every week; it's why I asked the question about this maybe becoming a divisive issue at Finch Farm?

Didn't know about Unsworth having another role, Danny, with my own feelings being that, unless it's taking him away from his proper role, it's just a title. One thing that I did find sickening was when Unsworth described Brands as an Evertonian, because this brought about a load of cynical thoughts in my own mind, and definitely changed my thought process, making me instantly think, “Who the fuck are you trying to kid?” whilst sadly already knowing the answer.

Alan J Thompson
9 Posted 31/08/2021 at 07:05:56
I take it that because it is a young side even by U-23 standards that we again won't be entering the Checkertrade(?) competition.
Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
10 Posted 31/08/2021 at 07:36:49
Hi Alan,

It’s all in the name! Checkatrade were sponsors of the EFL Trophy, which more recently has been sponsored by Papa John’s. It was canceled last season but is back on for this season. Everton will field an Under-21 side. I added a note to the lead story up top about our group opponents.

Alan J Thompson
11 Posted 31/08/2021 at 16:34:53
Cheers, Michael.

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