Third trophy struggling to find its identity

The League Cup, despite offering a place in the following season's Europa League, is widely accepted as secondary to the FA Cup and has faced challenges in recent years.

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England's Carling Cup is somewhat of an anomaly in the European and domestic game. While Spain, Germany and Italy all organise a top-flight league and a knock-out competition, English teams have a third trophy to play for. The League Cup, despite offering a place in the following season's Europa League, is widely accepted as secondary to the FA Cup and has faced challenges in recent years.

Forced to undergo several different guises since its creation in 1960 - it became known as the Milk Cup in 1981 and has relied on sponsorship funding ever since - it lacks a true identity, leading to several bigger clubs opting to use to blood their youth players. In 2000, the then-titled Worthington Cup hit its all-time low when Leicester City faced First Division side Tramere Rovers in what was nicknamed "The Worthless Cup Final". Leicester won.

Since then, it has experienced something of a resurgence, despite claims by Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager, that a League Cup win would not end his side's drought of silverware. gmeenaghan@thenational.ae