The players train in Hong Kong


By Dan King - Newcastle United Digital Editor

Newcastle United will return to the Far East for the third year in a row to take part in the 15th Hong Kong Football Club Citibank Soccer Sevens.

The Magpies won the competition in 2012 before losing in the final to Leicester in last year's tournament. Manchester City, Chelsea, Aston Villa, Rangers and Sunderland are among the other sides who will be taking part.

Sammy Ameobi, Paul Dummett and James Tavernier were part of last season's United squad, which will be made up of players between the ages of 17 and 21.

This year's tournament - which is a seven-a-side format - will be held between May 23rd and May 25th at the impressive Hong Kong Football Club in Happy Valley.

United's Football Development Manager, Peter Beardsley, told nufc.co.uk: "Having won it two years ago and lost in the final last year, it would be nice to go and try to get it back.

"Chelsea are in it this year, so they'll be very strong, but it's a brilliant experience, a brilliant place with brilliant people. It's the perfect end to our season."

Weber Lo, Citi Country Officer and Chief Executive Officer, Hong Kong and Macau, said: "We're delighted that Leicester City are back to defend their title at the HKFC Citibank Soccer Sevens as we also welcome back Manchester City, Chelsea, Rangers, Sunderland and former champions Aston Villa and Newcastle.

"It's exciting to announce seven such major clubs so early and it's recognition of the tournament's world-class reputation that these teams keep returning to Hong Kong Football Club. Citibank is proud to title sponsor such an international tournament in Asia for the fourth year, and we look forward to another great and exciting tournament this May."

The remaining sides in the 16-team Main competition and the line-up of the 12-team Masters competition will be announced soon, while ticket details will be announced in April.

The tournament will start with the opening round of Masters pool games on Friday evening, May 23. All the Main group matches and the remaining Masters pool games are held on the Saturday before the knockout stages for both competitions take place on Sunday.

Future stars who have competed in the Main competition include Gabriel Agbonlahor, Glen Johnson, Marc Albrighton, David Bentley, Anton Ferdinand and Shaun Maloney.

The Masters tournament has featured Beardsley, fellow former England internationals John Barnes, Chris Waddle, Teddy Sheringham, Des Walker, Andy Cole and Matt Le Tissier, German legends Jurgen Klinsmann and Pierre Littbarski, former France winger Didier Six and Finnish icon Jari Litmanen.