South Shields FC International Tournament set to get underway
The eagerly-awaited South Shields FC International Tournament gets underway on Friday as Celtic take on Marseille at Mariners Park.
Top football talent from across Europe is set to descend on South Tyneside for the three-day event, with Southampton and South Shields the other two participants.
Tickets for all games across the weekend are still available, although three-day tickets are only available until 12pm on Friday by clicking here.
Hosts South Shields will get their first taste of the tournament when they face Southampton at 3pm on Saturday, before things are brought to a close on Sunday with a third-place play-off at 1pm and final at 5pm. Friday’s Celtic against Marseille fixture kicks off at 7.30pm.
Celtic, Marseille and Southampton are bringing their Under-23s teams to Mariners Park for the competition.
Mariners joint manager Lee Picton says his side are relishing the prospect of coming up against top young talent over the weekend.
He said: “There is real anticipation and excitement at the prospect of three top football clubs coming to Mariners Park.
“We’re going to have to mix and match a little bit across the weekend, because to play two games in two days, we’re going to have to have more than 11 or even 16 players who can do a job for us.
“That will give more opportunities to some of the young players.
“It could be a fantastic experience for the lads we’ve worked with in the academy to rub shoulders and pit their wits against the likes of Southampton, Celtic and Marseille.
“We’re really looking forward to it.”
Tickets for all games will be available to buy at the turnstiles and in advance online.
Friday and Saturday’s matches are priced at £10 for adults, £8 for over-65s and students, and £3 for under-16s, while a ticket to watch both of Sunday’s games costs £15 for adults, £12 for over-65s and students, and £5 for under-16s.
Southampton’s team will be managed by former Tunisian international defender Radhi Jaidi, who also played for the likes of Bolton Wanderers and Birmingham City.
Among those in the squad is Jake Hesketh, who made his Premier League debut for the Saints in 2014.
Ex-Celtic, Wigan Athletic and Aston Villa forward Shaun Maloney is among Celtic’s coaching staff for the weekend.
Included in the squad is 18-year-old Jack Aitchison, who became Celtic’s youngest-ever player and goalscorer in May 2016 when he netted with his first touch for the senior side against Motherwell, aged 16 years and 71 days.