Premier League 'B' teams could compete in Johnstone's Paint Trophy

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It was brought to light on Twitter a few days ago, by BBC 5Live correspondent Richard Conway, that a deal is being discussed for the under-21 teams of 16 Category One academies to compete in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.

An extract, from the board meeting summary of an AFC Wimbledon supports group reads: "There was also discussion about that day’s Football League (FL) meeting which was understood to have authorised the FL executive to finalise proposals to allow Premier League ‘B’ teams to enter the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy."

The group made it clear that AFC Wimbledon were the only League Two club to refuse to consider the proposal further, which may come as a surprise following the backlash against the 'League Three' proposal which surfaced last year - which would have involved Premier League 'B' teams forming a new league between League Two and the Vanarama Conference.

The inclusion of the Category One clubs would mean a change in format to the Johnstone's Paint Trophy. It would see 16 groups of four, with one U21 team in each group, with the winners progressing through to the knockout stages of the competition.

If the deal goes ahead, it could be huge news for English youth development, as it gives an opportunity for under-21 players to gain experience in a competitive tournament with established Football League players.

It would also give managers and coaches an opportunity to assess where there players are at, whether they are comfortable playing against League One sides or struggle against a League Two outfit.

Also, it would be a challenge for the young players at Football League clubs to compare their development to Premier League players of a similar age and make a decision on whether they feel they are able to make the step up.

Do you think that allowing Premier League 'B' teams to take part in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy is a good idea? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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