Six Man Utd Stars Confirmed for Tour

Giggs, Scholes, Neville, Fletcher, Van der Sar, Berbatov Headed to Philadelphia

scholesneville

Photo Credit: 
(Getty Images)

NEW YORK (July 8, 2010) – Manchester United confirmed
today that several of its marquee stars will be included in their final travel
roster for their upcoming four-market North American Tour. The list of confirmed international standouts
includes legendary midfielder Ryan Giggs (Wales), English standouts Paul Scholes
and Gary Neville, as well as Darren Fletcher (Scottland), Dimitar Berbatov (Bulgaria)
and Edwin Van der Sar (Holland).

CLICK HERE for tickets to Manchester United vs Philadelphia Union on July 21, 7:30pm at Lincoln Financial Field. 

The Red Devils plan to release their full travel
roster, as well as team itinerary, prior to their departure from Manchester on
Monday. 

The 2009 English Premier League
champion Manchester United will face the MLS All-Stars in the 2010 AT&T MLS
All-Star Game at Reliant Stadium, in Houston, Texas, on Wednesday, July 28
(live on ESPN2 and TeleFutura at 8:30 p.m. ET). The game marks the
last stop of the tour, which also includes matches against Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia
Union (July 21 in Philadelphia) and Kansas City Wizards (July 25 in Kansas City), along with Scottish
power Celtic F.C. (July 16 in Toronto).

Leading
the tour is United Captain Neville, England’s most capped right back with 85
appearances, and a fan favorite since joining the team in 2001. Giggs, a
midfielder from Wales, is the Red devils most decorated player, having made
more appearances (838) and won more honors that any other player in team
history. Scholes has been a staple
in the Manchester United midfield since joining the team in 1991. In addition to his 643 club
appearances and 149 goals, he has been capped 66 times by the English National
Team, having played in two FIFA World Cups. 

Fletcher,
who has captained the Scottish National Team on several occasions, was selected
to the 2009–10 PFA Premier League
Team of the Year. Forward Berbatov
is the all-time leading scorer in the history of the Bulgarian National Team,
and a six-time Bulgarian Player of the Year. He has scored 21 goals since joining Manchester United in 2008. The legendary Van der Sar is the most
capped player in the history of the Dutch National Team, and has won the UEFA
Champion’s League with two different teams.

Head coach Sir Alex Ferguson and Captain Gary
Neville spoke about the tour in anticipation of their arrival to North
America. A
full transcript of the interviews can be found below. 

Manchester United’s
North American tour is being presented by Major League Soccer and Creative
Artists Agency (CAA). The tour will mark the first time United have played
games in this region of the world since 2004.

Led by Ferguson, Manchester United is one of the most recognized clubs
in the world, lifting a total of 18 English Premier League titles, four Carling
cups, three European Cups and a record 11 FA Cups. In 1999, United were the
first team to win the Treble (English Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions
League) in one season. Founded in 1878, the Red Devils have competed in the top
division of English soccer since 1938, with the exception of the 1974-1975
season.

SIR ALEX FERGUSON INTERVIEW

On preseason in
North America:

“It’s a very
easy country to start with, of course to speak the language is always a help.
It’s a very comfortable country, I think, for a football team to go there and
the facilities are very good there and improving all the time. If you see the
stadiums we are playing in
are fantastic. There is a big drive [in the
United States to make] soccer, as they call it, into a more essential part of
the American sport because as we all know they invented basketball, baseball,
the American football. They have soccer. Football is starting to make an
impact. It’s a big country…all these kids are playing soccer in the United
States, some 12-15 million and with 6 million girls playing soccer, they’ll
eventually have to find somewhere for all of them to go. What they don’t have
is a permanent system, like we have in England and in other countries, where it
all [travels] down to the age levels, building up into what we have -we’ve got
conference leagues, all sorts of leagues before you can build up to the
professional leagues.”

On Manchester
United’s North American fan base:

“Nothing
surprises me about our club because it’s got that reputation, it’s got that
romance about it. Without doubt it’s probably ourselves and Madrid and
Barca and A.C. Milan [that are] the biggest clubs in the world and maybe, after
that, one or two others. I think that we stand as one of the biggest clubs in
the world and therefore there’s a proof all over that everywhere we go. If you see us in the Far East for
instance, it’s incredible, you know, the passion and the number of people that
support us in the far east. Even when we went to Saudi Arabia, we played
a night game of 60,000 people there a couple a years back. In the States
in 2003 and 2004 all the games filled out. That pleases me, I think that’s
great, I think that tells you that Manchester United are recognized everywhere
in the world and not just the Far East, who we’ve been associated with for
quite a few years.”

Goals of the pre-season
tour:

“Winning is
part of what we have to do here, but the main object is to get everyone game
time, come back ready, fit to start the season. Even the starting shield
does not come into the agenda in terms of needing to end the game and this has
been used by the club as a final part of preparation. Then on the 8
th
of august, we have internationals during that week and then we have our first
game the following Monday against Newcastle.”

On playing in Philadelphia and Lincoln Financial Field:

“It’s a fantastic stadium. We’ve been there before, of course. We’re staying in the same hotel, using the Philadelphia Eagles training grounds, and of course, a new team into the MLS and I’m sure they will be very motivated for the game”

On MLS and
American Soccer:

“American
soccer is starting to make an impact and it’s so improved. I made that point
about the United States team before the World Cup. I said they were going to
play like real athletes – the guys are fit, committed, they believe in
themselves. I think American football is that way - they’re all fit,
athletic, they’ve got [a good feel for] the pitch. You can see that there’s
improvement in MLS. I’ve spoken to many people in the last few months about
that and there’s a big upsurge.”

GARY NEVILLE INTERVIEW

On Philadelphia and playing against the Union:

“I think it’s a good city. We’ve been there a couple of times before and played good matches there. The fans are very welcoming, the people, welcoming, we’ve been well looked after, always good memories of being there and happy to go back there again.”

“I think [the matches] will be competitive because they will want to do well. This happens a lot in pre-season tours when you play against some of the local teams, it’s the biggest games they’re going to play all season, so they’re really fired up for it, which is good for us because it gives us the competitive football. You usually can find that these games can be a bit tasty so for us, they’re good because it’s exciting for them. They’ve absolutely got a lot of fans watching them for their players. We get the benefit of that because we get a good crowd in a competitive match, which is what we want."

On spending the
pre-season in North America:

“The conditions
over there, the training facilities, the matches and stadiums are usually
fantastic and we’ve had great games there, we’ve had great experiences there in
2003 and 2004. The weather’s is usually good and everything is good for a
preseason tour… it’s great place to play football and a good place to be on
tour.”

On the amount
of Manchester United fans in America:

“I think
being here so long I don’t think it ever surprises you how many fans we’ve got
around the world. Obviously our fans are everywhere and I think that in USA is
no different. They expect to be entertained. Over there they’ve got a lot of
sport, but the soccer fans over there, as they call it, are happy to see us,
and United are a big club. Certainly the last time we were out there we got big
crowds of 75, 80 thousand people wherever we went and the huge crowds in
pre-season friendlies."

Goal of
pre-season tour:

“Obviously
winning is a habit, a mentality and I think we always like to do that, score
goals play good football and try to transfer that into the most important
thing, which is the start of the season.”

“It’s
important because I mean obviously everything that you do in preseason is a
build up to start the season, your fitness, your performance levels, playing
together as a team and new players sometimes bending in the younger players
coming in into the squad, that’s always an opportunity in the preseason. So,
no, it’s a good time for the squad to be back together for two, three weeks.
It’s important."

On the level
of competition:

“It’s always
a tough game between us and Celtic. Then you’ve got the other two games against
local teams, [who will] be fighting to play the biggest games in their
lives against Man United. They’re all really competitive games for different
reasons, which should be good for us to get fit, competitive football before
the start of the season.”