Football: Arsenal, Everton and Stoke to play Singapore XI for Barclays Asia Trophy

The line-up for the Barclays Asia Trophy Singapore in July was announced on Wednesday with English Premier League sides Arsenal, Everton and Stoke City set to face a Singapore Select XI team.

The Asia Trophy - the only EPL-affiliated competition held outside England - features three Premier League sides and a host team. It has been held in football-mad Asia biennially since 2003.

Said EPL chief executive Richard Scudamore: "We know Singaporeans love their football and that they are huge fans of the Barclays Premier League. Our aim is to put on a tournament worthy of the Singapore's 50th birthday celebrations and for that we have three teams who epitomise the best of our League.

"Arsenal have always been one of the most thrilling teams in the Barclays Premier League. They have some wonderful players and I'm sure they'll delight their many fans from across Southeast Asia.

"Everton under Roberto Martinez continue to play an exciting brand of football, while Stoke City mix flair with a never-say-die attitude. Fans in Singapore should expect our most competitive ever Barclays Asia Trophy."

Football Association of Singapore president Zainudin Nordin added: "I'm sure fans will be keen to see how players from our Lions fare against the top-class opposition they see live on television week in and out during the Barclays Premier League season.

"The bulk of our national players are aged 25 and below, so, in line with our player development objectives and goals, the Barclays Asia Trophy presents an opportunity for our players to pit themselves against high-level opponents and gain some valuable match experience and exposure."

This year's edition will be played over two match days, July 15 (Wednesday) and July 18 (Saturday), with two games on each day. The four-team knockout competition will be played at the National Stadium.

Defending FA Cup winners Arsenal and 2011 Cup runners-up Stoke City will be making their debut in the Asia Trophy while Everton's last appearance was in 2005.

With the 2015/2016 EPL season scheduled to start less than a month later on August 8, all three clubs are likely to bring their first-team squads. This means that local football fans will get to see a host of international players at the 55,000-seater National Stadium.

Tickets will be sold separately for each match day but will include both matches taking place on that day. More details will be announced in May.

Local football is also set to benefit with the EPL set to run a series of coaching initiatives and knowledge-transfer programmes in July. The Singapore Select XI will also consist mainly of players from the Singapore national team.

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