Manchester United begins to set squad for U.S. summer tour


All Manchester United players except those involved in the World Cup’s knockout stages will arrive in the United States next week for the start of the club’s preseason tour, which includes a stop in Washington, MUFC told the Insider.

Players on international duty for the later rounds in Brazil will join the delegation at some point during the trip, which will begin with a July 23 friendly against MLS’s Los Angeles Galaxy at the Rose Bowl.

United will then play at least three matches in the International Champions Cup: AS Roma on July 26 in Denver, Inter Milan on July 29 at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., and Real Madrid on Aug. 2 at sold-out Michigan Stadium. By winning their group, the Red Devils would advance to the ICC final Aug. 4 in Miami.

Seeking to rebound from its poorest finish in 24 years (seventh place), United will open the Premier League campaign Aug. 16 at home against Swansea City.

Available at the start of the tour after group-stage elimination in Brazil are forwards Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck (England); goalkeeper David De Gea (Spain); defenders Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Luke Shaw (all England); and midfielders Shinji Kagawa (Japan), Juan Mata (Spain), Nani (Portugal) and Antonio Valencia (Ecuador).

The club has not determined when the other World Cup participants will report. That group features midfielders Marouane Fellaini and Adnan Januzaj of Belgium (quarterfinals); forwards Robin van Persie of the Netherlands (semifinals) and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez of Mexico (round of 16); and defender Patrice Evra of France (quarterfinals).

Of course transfers, signings, loans and injuries could alter the squad list in the coming weeks. Among the rumors: Evra and Nani leaving, Mats Hummels arriving from Borussia Dortmund, Angel Di Maria in from Real Madrid and Arturo Vidal from Juventus.

The U.S. visit will mark the debut of new manager Louis van Gaal, the current Dutch World Cup boss who replaces David Moyes at Old Trafford. It will also introduce Shaw, a recent signing from Southampton, and Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera, acquired from Athletic Bilbao.

“These tours give the squad a great opportunity to not only prepare physically for the season ahead, but to bond as a group – something that is even more significant with the new manager and players coming in,” said assistant Ryan Giggs, who retired this year after playing 24 years at Old Trafford.

The match in Michigan threatens to break the U.S. all-time attendance record of 101,799 for the 1984 Olympic gold medal match between France and Brazil at the Rose Bowl. Capacity for college football in Ann Arbor is listed at more than 109,000; it remains unclear how many seats were made available for the soccer friendly. Ticket sales in the other venues hosting United were not available.


(Photo courtesy of MUFC)

Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.



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Steven Goff · July 7, 2014

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