Manchester United heads across the pond for a summer tour of Canada, United States and Mexico after a week of pre-season training in Carrington. Sir Alex Ferguson will take a squad shorn of United’s World Cup players, who have been given extra time off to recuperate, for matches against Celtic, Philadelphia United, Kansas City Wizards, an All-Star MLS XI and Chivas Guadalajara.
Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick, Patrice Evra, Park-Ji Sung and Nemanja Vidic will miss the tour completely, while Javier Hernández will join the party only for the final two matches. The squad will also be without injured players Antonio Valencia, Nani, Owen Hargreaves, Rio Ferdinand, Anderson, Michael Owen and Gary Neville.
“Gary has suffered a minor setback in training with a small tear to his calf muscle. He therefore won’t be going on the tour as it will be more beneficial for him to remain at Carrington to improve his chances of being ready for the start of the season,” explained club mouthpiece ManUtd.com today.
Meanwhile, Hargreaves has returned to Dr. Richard Steadman’s US clinic after suffering another breakdown. The Canadian-born midfielder has undergone operations in both knees in an attempt to cure persistent patella tendinitis. Hargreaves played just 27 seconds of United’s match against Sunderland last season but has essentially missed two full seasons.
“The bad news is that Owen Hargreaves is back in America seeing the specialist. He won’t be ready for the start of the season. I don’t know when he’ll be back,” said Ferguson.
“Antonio Valencia should be okay and Nani should be ready for the start of the season, too. Michael Owen is doing great – he’s doing all his work in the gymnasium every day. I don’t think he’ll be fit to go to America but he should be ready for the start of the season.”
Hargreaves’ is a familiar tale, with doubt now raised that the England international will ever make a full comeback. Ferguson also said that Ferdinand could yet be fit for United’s opening Premier League fixture against Newcastle United, while Anderson will return in late September.
Hargreaves’ loss is others gain with pre-season traditional an opportunity for younger players to catch Ferguson’s eye. Indeed, Tom Cleverley’s place in the squad could yet buy the midfielder a shot at first team action with United, rather than the expected loan move to Newcastle ahead of the new season.
Rafael da Silva will also look to cement a place at right-back ahead of Neville, who is entering his final season as a United player, while his brother Fabio should play with Evra on extended leave.
Meanwhile new signings Chris Smalling and Hernández will turn out in a red shirt for the first time. While the Mexican’s excellent performances in the World Cup have United supporters hoping Ferguson has unearthed another gem, Smalling could yet benefit from Ferdinand’s lengthy injury.
United will then head for Dublin to open the new Ariva stadium on 4 August before the Community Shield versus Chelsea at Wembley on 8 August.
16 July V Celtic, Rogers Centre Toronto, 00:00 BST
21 July V Philadelphia United, Lincoln Financial Field Philadelphia, 00:30 BST
25 July V Kansas City Wizards, Arrowhead Stadium Kansas, 23:00 BST
28 July V MLS All-Stars, Reliant Stadium Houston, 01:30 BST
30 July V Chivas Guadalajara, Chivas Stadium Guadalajara,
Edwin van der Sar, Tomasz Kuszczak, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Dimitar Berbatov, John O’Shea, Wes Brown, Rafael, Jonny Evans, Darren Fletcher, Darron Gibson, Chris Smalling, Nani, Fabio, Federico Macheda, Danny Welbeck, Javier Hernandez (will join in Houston on 27 July), Mame Biram Diouf, Tom Cleverley, Ritchie De Laet, Corry Evans, Ben Amos, Gabriel Obertan.