Newcomers Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Fulham and Newcastle United have all agreed to take part in this year's Checkatrade Trophy.
The four sides have joined the likes of Premier League champions Chelsea in accepting one the 16 slots for the tournament as they will be joined by 11 other U21 sides from England’s top flight, with four EFL clubs having U21 sides involved too.
The announcement follows the overwhelming support of League One and League Two clubs to allow the continued involvement of 16 invited sides in the Checkatrade Trophy for the next two seasons, alongside several format amendments to provide increased flexibility in team selection for League One and League Two clubs.
The full list of invited U21 sides is as follows: Brighton & Hove Albion; Chelsea; Everton; Fulham; Leicester City; Manchester City; Middlesbrough; Newcastle; Reading; Chelsea; Southampton; Stoke City; Swansea City; Tottenham Hotspur; West Bromwich Albion and West Ham United.
The invited teams were selected based on their final league position at the end of the 2016/17 season, with the first 16 invited to take part, and then subsequent teams with Category One Academy status invited as required.
The selection criteria for invited U21 teams is ‘six players from the starting 11 must be under the age of 21 as of June 30, 2017 as EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey said: "I was delighted when EFL clubs collectively backed the competition following a full and comprehensive review of last season’s pilot format, and we can see from the increasing interest from Category One Academies that the Checkatrade Trophy has genuine appeal.
“The competition provides a unique challenge to young players and seasoned professionals alike. I strongly believe players from League One and League Two clubs will look forward to taking on some of the country’s brightest prospects, who will themselves learn a lot from participating in a first-team competition.
“I want to thank EFL clubs and the Category One Academies for their support. I believe the balance of the competition should benefit all sides and will make for some intriguing matches when the group stages get under way in August.”