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Manchester City furious that schedule limiting youngsters - sources

Manchester City are furious with the Football League after they refused to move fixtures that would give their youngsters an opportunity to gain experience against senior teams, sources have told ESPN FC.

Pep Guardiola's men face League One side Burton Albion in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday with the tie essentially over following their 9-0 victory in the first leg. And with City still fighting for silverware on four fronts, the Catalan saw the second leg as an opportunity of giving his young players some experience. But 24 hours earlier, the under-23 side play Sunderland -- another League One club -- in the EFL Trophy quarterfinals with the possibility of a place at Wembley.

ESPN FC has been told that City asked the Football League, who organise both competitions, for the Sunderland clash to be arranged for another date so his young players could feature in both matches. 

An EFL spokesman said: "This decision was made after full consideration of the representations of both clubs, along with enquiries of our own.

"With no mutual agreement between the clubs, the decision fell to the Executive of the EFL. There is a significant amount of sympathy with the position outlined by Manchester City and the fact that the dating of this game could remove one opportunity for the clubs' younger players to play in a first team competitive game with the Carabao Cup Semi-Final 2nd leg the day after.

"The EFL is committed to delivering valuable playing opportunities for young players and would have assisted, if it had been practically possible but the alternative dates all had issues with them.

"The EFL is grateful for the support of both clubs towards the Checkatrade Trophy and Pep Guardiola's backing of the Carabao Cup."

Guardiola has been critical of opportunities for Academy players in the past because the standard of football they face is not good enough. His first managerial job was in charge of Barcelona B where his side would face teams in the second and third tier of Spanish football. He has called for a similar situation with young English players not getting enough minutes and interest from German clubs to provide them with opportunities.

"Create a good second league," Guardiola said before the first leg against Burton Albion. "Create a good second team and you will see how many young players will be in the Premier League.

"Play against real teams. Against guys who are 24, 25, 26, 27 years old. Compete really every, every, every single weekend with real games. Fighting for survival or to be relegated, create that.

"And after, maybe the managers in the Premier League will have more courage to put them [in the team]. But they don't, they play every weekend friendly games."

Category A Academy clubs were invited into the EFL Trophy three years ago with the aim of providing younger players with the chance to play meaningful games.

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