Playing Europe's elite can only aid development as Sunderland prepare to host Porto in cup final

Sunderland under-23 youngsters Josh Maja and Joel Asoro
Sunderland under-23 youngsters Josh Maja and Joel Asoro
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Sunderland's Under-23 side go in search of cup glory next month - and David Moyes believes playing top European sides can only boost their development.

Elliott Dickman's side will host Portugese giants Porto in the final of the Premier League International Cup at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday, May 17 (KO 7pm).

Sunderland Under-23 boss Elliott Dickman gives instructions

Sunderland Under-23 boss Elliott Dickman gives instructions

Sunderland's youngsters breezed through the group stages with an undefeated record, beating Benfica and PSV Eindhoven before coming from 2-0 down to rescue a point at Derby County.

Progressing as Group A winners, Sunderland overcame an experienced Athletic Bilbao side 2-0 in the quarter-finals before edging past Norwich City 1-0 in the semi-finals.

Cup final opponents FC Porto edged their semi-final clash against Swansea by the same margin following Wenderson Galeno’s solitary goal in South Wales and the date has now been set for the final - with Sunderland on home soil.

Moyes has congratulated the club's youngsters on reaching the final and says Dickman's squad are looking forward to testing themselves against a strong Porto side.

"We were delighted our Under-23 side reached the final of the Premier League International Cup," said Moyes.

"They have enjoyed ties against some top European sides, which has been great experience for them. The boys will face Porto in the final, which will be another big test.

"Portugal has produced many quality players over the years and teams such as Benfica, Sporting Lisbon and Porto are top sides.

"I am very keen that our young players throughout the age groups get the chance to represent the club in European tournaments.

"It exposes them to different styles of play and standards and that can be very beneficial as part of their development.

"The Premier League International Cup final will be played at the Stadium of Light, which is only fitting and it would be great to see a big turn out from our supporters for the young players."

The game will be played the night after the first team face Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in their penultimate Premier League match of the season.

Club officials say ticket information for the Porto cup final will be announced in due course.