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Manchester United take young squad on pre-season tour; who will they play and what lies ahead?

Manchester United left for Los Angeles shortly before 21:00 BST on Sunday evening, arriving at their destination shortly before 23:00 PDT. Before embarking on tour, United did not make an announcement of the squad like they have done in the years previous with only journalists naming the players who were present at Manchester airport, with the club tweeting some pictures taken at the airport. There were some players staying behind in Manchester and some players who will be seen as surprise inclusions of the squad this summer.

Alexis Sanchez was the big name missing from the travelling party on Sunday and he was pictured by the media in Cheshire on Sunday. It is suggested that he has been given some extra time off, as this is literally his first summer off in a number of years and Jose Mourinho will be wanting him to be fresh ahead of the new season. He will travel to the United States of America later in the tour. It has not been suggested when, but looking at the United players who exited the FIFA World Cup early this summer, he could travel out with them at some point.

Daley Blind was also missing from the squad as it has been reported that Ajax are re-signing the Dutchman this summer for around £14 million, which could rise to £18.5 million. Blind hardly played for United last season and it is clear he is not in Mourinho’s plans. Matteo Darmian, who has also been linked with a return to Italy, did travel on the tour as a firm decision has not been made on his future with both Juventus and Inter Milan keen on signing him this summer. Juventus will be playing matches in the USA this summer.

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Manchester United squad for the pre-season tour of the United States of America

Mourinho has selected a 24-man squad for the early part of the pre-season tour of the USA. The Portuguese manager selected 13 players from the clubs academy, with six of those not yet playing for the first team at the club. Two of the three new summer signings (so far) have travelled on the tour. The squad is made up of the following;

Goalkeepers – Sergio Romero, Joel Pereira, Lee Grant;

Defenders – Antonio Valencia, Matteo Darmian, Diogo Dalot, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Ro-Shaun 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.

Who will Manchester United be playing against on the pre-season tour of the USA and Germany?

United will be playing five matches in the USA this summer. Two of the matches will be pre-season friendlies presented by Aon with the other three being part of the International Champions Cup competition, which this summer is going to be played across the world with the majority of matches played in the USA but some also played in Germany, Singapore, France, Ireland, Portugal, Italy and England. United will be playing matches in Phoenix, AZ, Santa Clara, CA, Carson, CA, Ann Arbor, MI, and Miami, FL. United will be playing the following matches;

Club America, University of Phoenix, Phoenix, Arizona – Friday 20 July 2018 – KO 03:00 BST (friendly);

San Jose Earthquakes, Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California – Sunday 22 July 2018 – KO 22:00 BST (friendly);

AC Milan, StubHub Center, Carson, California – Thursday 26 July 2018 – KO 04:05 BST (International Champions Cup);

Liverpool, Michigan (Big House) Stadium, Ann Arbor, Michigan – Saturday 28 July 2018 – KO 22:05 BST (International Champions Cup);

Real Madrid, Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, Florida – Wednesday 1 August 2018 – KO 01:05 BST (International Champions Cup);

Bayern Munich, Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany – Sunday 5 August 2018 – KO 19:15 BST (friendly).

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What can be expected from Manchester United’s pre-season tour this summer?

For some, pre-season is about fitness, gelling the squad ahead of a long and tough season and testing playing styles ready for the new season. This pre-season is going to be both big and complicated for United. Mourinho has seen some changes to his coaching team this summer with Michael Carrick, Kieran McKenna, and Stefano Rapetti all being added to the team this summer. Obviously, Carrick was destined for a coaching role, which could be said for Rapetti also but McKenna seems to have taken a vacant role in the team left by Rui Faria, who left at the end of the season.

United supporters will be hoping to see their team win all or most of their matches this summer but in reality, the results do not matter as they are player to regain fitness after a summer of rest and relaxation after a tough season. This summer though, with the FIFA World Cup just finishing, United have 12 players missing from pre-season because of the World Cup. Those who played in the final matches; Ashley Young, Phil Jones, Jesse Lingard, and Marcus Rashford – England; Romelu Lukaku and Marouane Fellaini – Belgium; and Paul Pogba – France; will miss the tour.

Players who left the World Cup early; Nemanja Matic – Serbia, who exited in the group stage; Marcos Rojo – Argentina and David De Gea – Spain, who both exited at the Round of 16, could all play a part for United later in the tour. It has been suggested that Sanchez will join the tour at a later day, so he could fly out to the USA ready for the second or third game of the tour, with Matic, Rojo, and De Gea. Victor Lindelof and Fred could also be in action in the USA this summer, although Germany seems more likely, if they are involved at all.

As a vast majority of United players will not have a full pre-season, some not having one at all, there will be repercussions ahead of the new Premier League season. Mourinho has already suggested that seven players would be missing from the opening match against Leicester City on the 10th August, but in reality, up to 12 players may not be fit for that first match, which will mean United need to have a plan to ensure their first home game of the season ends in victory.

Written by Dave Preston

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