PHILADELPHIA – Manchester United are comfortably settling into the City of Brotherly Love, the club’s third stop on its North American tour. And for manager Sir Alex Ferguson, returning to Philadelphia for a third time in the past eight years is a familiar feeling.
“It’s always a pleasure to come to the States because the training conditions are excellent, same with Philadelphia,” said the Scottish manager at a press conference on Monday. “This is our third visit now, we’ll be here for five days training, which is absolutely excellent for us.”
Welcoming Ferguson and the rest of the team to the city was Philadelphia Union captain Danny Califf, who is looking forward to playing against such a big club on Wednesday. Chances like this don’t come around often, said the MLS veteran.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to play a team that we watch on television,” Califf told reporters. “It’s always a fun opportunity for us to step onto the field and have a good match against a quality opponent.
“We don’t get to play teams that play their type of style very often, and that’s always a new challenge. It’s just a great opportunity and will be a lot of fun and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Playing opposite Califf on Wednesday will be Man United veteran Wes Brown, who has been with the club for all three of its visits to Philadelphia.
Being back in town is something that the 30-year-old is pleased to be a part of, citing the impressive space available to them at the NovaCare Complex, the practice facilities of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles.
“Philadephia is a great city with great training facilities,” said Brown of the team’s temporary home, “some of the best I’ve ever seen. We’ve also had some great training sessions. It’s hot but it feels good and we are working hard.”
Despite only being in town for five days, the trip is one in which all parties involved are happy to experience – none more so than Sir Alex himself.
“We’re happy to be back here and hopefully we get what we need out of the trip which is the fitness of the players and no injuries before the campaign starts,” he said.
Full Tour Schedule:
July 21: Manchester United vs. Philadelphia Union (7:30 p.m. ET, Lincoln Financial Field)
July 25: Manchester United vs. Kansas City Wizards (6 p.m. ET, Arrowhead Stadium)
July 28: Manchester United vs. MLS All-Stars (8:30 p.m. ET, Reliant Stadium)
July 30: Manchester United vs. Chivas Guadalajara (Guadalajara, Mexico)