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Canada and China join Milk Cup party

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Dale Farm director Stephen Cameron (left) and Milk Cup chairman Victor Leonard after signing up China and Canada

Dale Farm director Stephen Cameron (left) and Milk Cup chairman Victor Leonard after signing up China and Canada

Dale Farm director Stephen Cameron (left) and Milk Cup chairman Victor Leonard after signing up China and Canada

The Canadian international team will play at the Dale Farm Milk Cup for the first time this summer.

And the 2014 event will also see China represented on the north coast once again.

Chinese club sides have played in the tournament in the past, but this will be the first time that they will send their national team to participate in the Elite Section.

Their under-20 coach Li Bing, who played 67 times for China between 1992 and 2001, started his playing career with the Liaoning club who have taken part in the Dale Farm Milk Cup before and his team will join Canada, Northern Ireland and one other, so far unnamed, country in the Elite competition.

Canada have recently appointed former Fulham and Wycombe Wanderers player Robert Gale as coach of their under-20 squad.

Gale has had previous spells with the under-16, under-17 and under-18 squads, and he is relishing the opportunity of some competitive action before the CONCACAF under-20 Championships, which also offers qualification for the 2015 under-20 World Cup in New Zealand.

"First of all, it gives our group tournament experience which is huge before going into World Cup qualifying," said Gale.

"It's the first time that the group will be together in a tournament combining our under-18 group with the under-17s who went to the under-17 World Cup in 2013 so it will be a chance to assimilate them and really test ourselves in the rhythm of competition.

"We feel that we can be as competitive as anybody there and it's also a great opportunity for individuals to test themselves against other elite players.

"It's also an opportunity to showcase individual talent," he added.

The Canadians are expected to include Queen's Park Rangers pair Michael Petrasso and Dylan Carreiro.

Eighteen-year-old Petrasso signed a new three-year contract with the Loftus Road outfit on Monday.

He has been on loan at both Oldham Athletic and Coventry City this season and QPR boss Harry Redknapp has had him on the bench in a couple of matches since he returned to the London club a month ago.

Belfast Telegraph