Villarreal are preparing to play their first match in the inaugural "Premier League international Cup U-21" against Sunderland tomorrow, December 10 at the Stadium of Light (a great name!).
The team is managed by Javi Torres Gómez, who leads our C team presently. The team is:
- Keepers: Bañuz (Villarreal B) y Quique Cebriá (Villarreal C).
- Defenders: Felipe (Villarreal B), Javi Ramírez (Villarreal B), Tano (Villarreal B), Maldonado (Villarreal C), Antonio Cristian (Villarreal C) y Miguelón (Juvenil A).
- Midfielders: Nahuel (Villarreal B), Javi García (Villarreal C), Ramiro (Villarreal C), Aleix (Villarreal C), Manu Viana (Villarreal C), Alfonso (Juvenil A) y Rodri (Juvenil A).
- Strikers: José Naranjo (Villarreal B), Pibe (Juvenil A) y Simón (Juvenil A).
A number of B team players, including regulars Fran Sol, Marc Mateu, and Sergio Marcos, are over 21, so not eligible. Players to watch include Manu Viana and Aleix Garcia, both highly rated players who have appeared with the B team already this season and played international matches as well, and Ramiro Guerra, another of our young internationals.
Sunderland's youth coach Robbie Stockdale talks about his team here--worth a read.
There is no prize money at stake, and to be honest Villarreal are at a bit of a disadvantage, since they are playing a team that trains together all the time (Sunderland has a U-21 team, as the academy squads in the UK are arranged by age; we have players in our squad who could be U-19, U-21, or even U-17). And of course there is the travel issue. But the experience, whatever the result, should be very interesting. I don't know if the match will be televised anywhere--I sort of doubt it--but if I find out anything I will post it here.
Endavant Villarreal U-21!!!