After a grueling four-day training camp in the Marbella sunshine, Andrew Nelson and his Sunderland under-23 teammates are eager to start their new campaign in the newly renamed Premier League 2.
Brand new league
The Premier League recently announced the renaming of the youth Premier League to the Premier League 2. The new model will replace the current U21 league, with the age range extended to incorporate U23s. Each team can field a goalkeeper over the age limit of 23 and up to three senior outfield players can take part in every match.
The Premier League said the idea is to give younger players the best chance possible to break into the first team squad, and creating a matchday experience similar to the first team, would give them the best chance of doing so.
Sunderland under-23’s face a trip to Leeds United at the weekend, where they will have their first chance to show their developments of pre-season training.
Ready to get underway
In a recent interview with safc.com, Nelson revealed his feeling of sharpness and freshness and that he can’t wait for the season to start. “It has been a great trip and one that I think has really helped the lads, the conditions are tough, it’s really hot out there but we know it’s an important part of pre-season to get done,” he said.
The youngster then went on to say: “I feel a lot better for it and I feel in good shape so hopefully I can continue to work hard with the team and we can have a good season.”
The Black Cats have recently saw a breakthrough in younger players coming through from the under-21 squad. Duncan Watmore played in over 60% of last season's games as well as other youngsters being handed debuts from the end of last season and into pre-season. Nelson noted that the new season would be tougher with their younger group of players.