For the fourth time in five years United are travelling to the United States on their pre-season tour before returning to Europe, this year for a game against Bayern Munich in Germany.
Jose Mourinho is starting his third season as United manager, an achievement no other post-Sir Alex manager can match. However, and despite United’s highest League finish since Sir Alex retirement it feels as if the pressure is on this year; pressure to mount a serious challenge for the title.
It’s disappointing then, if unavoidable that the pre-season starts with many of United’s first team squad still on holiday recovering from their exertions at this summer’s World Cup tournament. This begs the question of just how useful this tour will be in football terms, (no doubt it will be a commercial success), and indeed just how much we can learn from the games. At best we can assess the progress of some of the youngsters filling in for absentees and the progress of returning loan players and perhaps gain some clues on United’s tactical plans for the season ahead.
United have strengthened this summer with the addition of young fullback Diogo Dalot although he has just had an operation and so won’t be available in pre-season. Fred has also been added and although he won’t start the tour he is expected to join up with the squad in the States at some point. New keeper Lee Grant is available and he may get his United debut. Alexis Sanchez is experiencing visa difficulties which may at last at the time of writing be reaching resolution. It is hoped this situation can be resolved sooner rather than later as given he didn’t feature at the World Cup we can expect him to be an important player for the side in the early weeks of the season.
As a result of all these issues a full squad list for the tour to the States has not been published but it appears that the following have travelled:
Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero, Joel Pereira, Lee Grant.
Defenders: Antonio Valencia, Matteo Darmian, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, RoShaun Williams, Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly, Axel Tuanzebe, Demetri Mitchell, Luke Shaw.
Midfielders: James Garner, Ander Herrera, Andreas Pereira, Scott McTominay, Ethan Hamilton.
Forwards: Tahith Chong, Angel Gomes, Juan Mata, Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood, Joshua Bohui.
The first few days of their time in the States has been spent in training at the UCLA training facility before tour matches begin with a game against Club America in the early hours of Friday 20th July. www.manutdtactics.com will be keeping a close eye on the forthcoming fixtures over the next few weeks.
United’s full list of pre-season fixtures is as follows:
Club America vs United, University of Pheonix Stadium, Pheonix
Friday 20th July 2018, 03:00 BST, :17:00 (Thursday 19th) local time
San Jose Earthquakes vs United, Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara
Sunday 22nd July 2018, 22:00 BST, 14:00 local time
United vs Milan, Stub Hub Centre, Carson
Thursday 26th July 2018, 04:05 BST, 20:05 (Wednesday 25th) local time
United vs Liverpool, Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor
Saturday 28th July 2018, 22:05 BST, 17:05 local time
United vs Real Madrid, Hard Rock Stadium, Miami
Wednesday 1st August 2018, 01:05 BST, 20:05 (Tuesday 31st) local time
Bayern Munich vs United, Allianz Arena, Munich
Sunday 5th August 2018, 19:15 BST, 20:15 local time