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Villa to face Celtic, PSV and Sporting Lisbon in NextGen youth tournament

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Villa to face Celtic, PSV and Sporting Lisbon in NextGen youth tournament

By Dan Harrison

Villa's young guns have been drawn against Celtic, Sporting Lisbon and PSV Eindhoven in the 2012-13 NextGen Series.

The club's rising stars will compete against Europe's elite for the second year running following last season's adventure in the prestigious U19 competition.

Some intriguing encounters await Villa in Group 4 as they look to build on their run to the quarter-finals in 2011-12.

Scottish champions Celtic - a former club of new Villa boss Paul Lambert - bowed out of the tournament early last term but still managed to bag nine points in a tough group featuring Barcelona, Marseille and Manchester City.

Much-fancied Sporting Lisbon of Portugal - who have seen the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani and Luis Figo come through their acclaimed youth system - reached the last eight before losing to eventual champions Inter Milan.

Dutch giants PSV are also renowned for producing top class talent such as current Barcelona attacker Ibrahim Affelay.

Villa enjoyed an impressive run last season in the inaugural NextGen Series.

The team, led by Kevin MacDonald and Tony McAndrew, topped a group featuring Ajax, Rosenborg and Fenerbahce before suffering an agonising quarter-final defeat to Marseille.

Inter Milan went on to lift the trophy after defeating Ajax in the final.

After a successful debut campaign, the NextGen Series has expanded from 16 to 24 teams with more of the continent's elite clubs signing up to take part.

Chelsea and Arsenal are among the new participants, increasing the number of English sides to six.

German champions Borussia Dortmind will also join the competition along with French side Paris Saint-Germain, Russia's CSKA Moscow, Anderlecht of Belgium, Greek club Olympiacos and Spanish outfit Athletic Bilbao.

Another change from last year's line-up sees Italian giants Juventus replace Swiss club Basel.

Stay tuned to for details on fixture dates and tickets for Villa's NextGen Series fixtures.

Group One: Barcelona, Tottenham Hotspur, Wolfsburg, Anderlecht.
Group Two: Manchester City, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Fenerbahce.
Group Three: Chelsea, Ajax, CSKA Moscow, Molde.
Group Four: Aston Villa, Sporting Lisbon, Celtic, PSV Eindhoven.
Group Five: Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan, Rosenborg.
Group Six: Arsenal, Athletic Bilbao, Olympique de Marseille, Olympiacos.

AVFC Official
By @AVFCOfficial 4th June 2012
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