By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
For the second time in three years, Newcastle United will take part in the prestigious Torneo di Viareggio in Tuscany at the beginning of 2013.
The competition, which began in 1949 and is one of the most famous youth football tournaments in the world, sees the top clubs from Italy compete against sides from South America and Europe with Inter Milan, Juventus, AC Milan, Spartak Moscow, Napoli, Nordsjaelland, Roma and Anderlecht among the teams taking part in this year's event between 11th February and 25th February.
In 2011, a young Magpies squad including Haris Vuckic, Paul Dummett, Conor Newton and Bradden Inman were knocked out in the group stages after losing 3-1 eventual finalists Fiorentina and drawing with Club Nacional of Paraguay and Italian outfit Lecce.
United - who are the only English club in next year's competition - also entered in 2005, when they reached the quarter-finals before losing to Inter Milan and in 2006, with the likes of Fraser Forster, Andy Carroll and David Edgar all involved as they were beaten by Treviso in the last 16.
And Reserve Team Manager Willie Donachie is looking forward to taking the current crop of players to the Coppa Carnevale, as it's known because of the carnival which takes place in the region during the competition.
"It's a great experience, playing against the top Italian teams, South American teams and other European countries," he told nufc.co.uk. "It's an invaluable experience for a young player.
"You can't teach somebody about foreign games and different styles of play without going and playing it so they're playing against different styles and it's fantastic for them. You just can't buy that."
In May, Newcastle competed in the Citibank Hong Kong Football Club International Soccer Sevens and came home with the trophy, and Donachie believes that could stand his side in good stead for their Italian job.
He said: "I hope so - it just depends on the players available. If the first-team are doing well in Europe the manager might keep most of the players but it doesn't really matter about results.
"It's about the players getting the experience and learning from it."