OLLIE YOUNGER is confident Sunderland’s youngsters will more than hold their own when the cream of Manchester United’s academy crop head to the Stadium of Light on Wednesday evening.

Sunderland host Manchester United Under-21s in the second of their Papa John’s Trophy group games, having started the defence of the trophy they won in the spring with a 2-1 win at Lincoln City last week.

Lee Johnson selected a youthful side at Sincil Bank, and with a number of players away on international duty and a league game at Gillingham looming large at the weekend, Wednesday’s starting side is set to be even more inexperienced.

Manchester United’s youngsters served notice of their ability as they claimed a 3-0 win at Bradford City last month, and Younger is looking forward to testing himself against some of the most highly-rated academy players in the country.

“It’s a good opportunity for everyone, myself included, and playing in front of fans is what we’re all looking forward to,” said Younger, a 21-year-old centre-half. “Obviously, it will be a young Manchester United side that we face, but they will have undoubted quality and it’ll be a good test.

“The opportunity and learning curve against Lincoln were good – I feel that everyone put in a real positive performance – and we can build momentum by winning games.

“It will be a different test perhaps to the Lincoln game, as it might be more technical and not quite as physical. The pitch here is slick and they might look to play it on the floor more often. It will be another good learning experience for us.”

Sunderland could find themselves lining up against their former academy talent, Joe Hugill, on Wednesday, with the 17-year-old striker having controversially left the Academy of Light to join Manchester United last year.

A win would guarantee the Black Cats’ passage to the knockout rounds of the Papa John’s Trophy, and while promotion is the undoubted priority, a repeat of March’s Wembley triumph, but this time in front of a packed-out crowd, would be a welcome diversion.

“You get judged on success as footballers, and winning is the way to achieving that,” said Younger, in an interview with Sunderland's official website.

“It’s what we did in this competition last year and we want to do well again. For us it’s about creating and keeping a winning mentality.”