EFL Trophy draw: Liverpool FC, Manchester United and Arsenal among Premier League teams to reject invite - Sheffield United to play Leicester City

Barnsley and Oxford United fans on Wembley way last year for the EFL Trophy Final
Barnsley and Oxford United fans on Wembley way last year for the EFL Trophy Final
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A number of top Premier League clubs were missing from the EFL Trophy group-stage draw on Wednesday after rejecting invitations from the Football League to include their academy sides in the revamped competition.

Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham all opted against taking part, but the inclusion of Leicester and Chelsea will be considered a boost by the Football League.

In the draw itself, Sheffield United were drawn in a group along with Leicester, Grimsby Town and Walsall. Chesterfield were pulled out alongside Wolves, Crewe and Accrington and Doncaster Rovers are in a group with Derby County, Port Vale and Mansfield.

It was announced in June that, in an attempt to refresh the competition formerly known as the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, 16 'category one' academy outfits would be invited to join the 48 sides from League One and League Two.

But a number of teams initially invited passed up the chance to be involved, with fixture clashes and the number of games already played by academy sides among the reasons believed to have been given for the rejections.

Recently-relegated Newcastle joined 15 Premier League sides in being invited but also declined the chance to be involved, with the Football League extending the invitation to other category one academies in order of where the first team finished in the league standings last season.

The five teams who decided not to enter therefore saw their offers given instead to Norwich, Aston Villa, Brighton, Derby and Wolves and, with Villa deciding against taking part, Reading were also welcomed.

The reformatted tournament will see 64 teams split into 16 groups of four, on a north/south regional basis, each containing an invited club and they will play each other once, with the invited club playing one game at home.

Full Draw

Northern Section

Group A: Everton, Bolton, Cheltenham, Blackpool

Group B: Wolves, Chesterfield, Crewe, Accrington

Group C: Stoke, Bradford, Morecambe, Bury

Group D: Blackburn, Fleetwood, Carlisle, Oldham

Group E: Derby, Port Vale, Doncaster, Mansfield

Group F: Sunderland, Hartlepool, Rochdale, Notts County

Group G: Middlesbrough, Scunthorpe, Cambridge, Shrewsbury

Group H: Leicester, Sheffield United, Grimsby, Walsall

Southern Section

Group A: Reading, Bristol Rovers, Portsmouth, Yeovil

Group B: Swansea, AFC Wimbledon, Newport, Plymouth

Group C: Chelsea, Swindon, Exeter, Oxford

Group D: West Ham, Coventry, Wycombe, Northampton

Group E: Southampton, Charlton, Cochester, Crawley

Group F: Norwich, Peterborough, Barnet, MK Dons

Group G: Brighton, Southend, Stevenage, Leyton Orient

Group H: West Brom, Luton, Millwall, Gillingham