Shrewsbury Town v Man City U21s: City slickers will be tough test
One of the leading clubs in European football arrives in Shropshire tonight.
Shrewsbury Town play host to Manchester City, albeit the club’s under-21 side in the EFL Trophy.
And while Raheem Sterling, Kevin de Bruyne and Co may not be on show, Meadow boss Sam Ricketts believes there will be some City youngsters who will go on to become stars at the Etihad.
“You’re going to see a Man City team who play exactly like the first team,” said Ricketts.
“They do that all the way through the age groups and you’re going to see some really exciting young players.
“They play in this competition and in the Champions League of their age group. They very rarely play the same team. It’s going to very similar to watching the first team.
“If you look at the best players who are being produced in this country, it’s mostly Man City. Players like Phil Foden and Jadon Sancho.
“If you’re coming to the game, keep your teamsheet, because in a year or so some of these players might be some of the best in Europe.
“They will want to play out from the back and their centre-halves will be right in the box – they have the Man City DNA. If they get it wrong, they go at it again and try again.
“We have our ideas of how we’re going to go against that. It’s good for their players to be challenging league footballers. It will be a good test for both sides.
“Some of these players will be really young but really good. Don’t be surprised if they become some of the best players around.”
Town progressed in one cup competition at the weekend when they defeated Mansfield Town in the FA Cup second round.
And Ricketts insists he is happy for the games to keep coming despite the demands of a tough League One campaign.
“We’ve dusted ourselves down from the weekend and seen how we are and who can go again,” he added.
“But listen, we want to win this game as well.
“We want to keep rolling over. We have got a good squad. We’ve got enough players to handle that competition as well.
“If you do get a chance in this competition, it’s an opportunity to put your stamp on the team. We’re obviously going out to win the game.”
Town reached the final of the competition in 2018 but lost to Lincoln, while Ricketts picked up a winner’s medal with Swansea
Asked if he fancies a Wembley final, the boss added: “Wouldn’t be bad, would it?
“We’re a few games away from Wembley, which would be fantastic.
“I remember winning it at Swansea and that day is still talked about highly at the club.”
Meanwhile, Town have confirmed they have appealed the red card shown to skipper Oliver Norburn in Saturday’s win over Mansfield.
“Hopefully people see sense,” added Ricketts.