Monday 6 June 2016

United to visit China on pre-season tour

Jose Mourinho will get a first look at his United side when the club depart on their annual pre-season tour of the Far East in July.

The Reds will play in the International Champions Cup against Bundesliga side Dortmund in Shanghai on July 22 before Mourinho's United face Pep Guardiola's Manchester City in Beijing three days later as the two men lock horns in a Manchester derby for the first time. 

The Reds first travelled to China in 1975 and have gone on to visit a further nine times since, estimating that they have around 107 million supporters in the country.

During our trips east, we've played 12 matches against local teams, the most recent of which was against Hong Kong side Kitchee in 2013 in front of 40,000 supporters.

This year's tour is considerably truncated for a variety of reasons.

As many of 17 of Mourinho's squad are expected to be involved with their respective nations at Euro 2016 and each will have at least three weeks rest afterwards.
The tournament starts on Friday with the final on 10 July and given the competition's expansion to 24 countries for the first time, there is more chance of progression to the knockout phase and a longer involvement for many Reds. 

The earlier any player could end participation in the tournament is on 19 June when Group A finishes though this would only apply to two players- Tony Martial and Morgan Schneiderlin- and only if hosts France were eliminated surprisingly early.

As the opening group stage ends on 22 June, when Marouane Fellaini's Belgium and Matteo Darmian's Italy are involved with Groups F and E, they would be on holiday until 13 July at the earliest. 

Wayne Rooney's testimonial, to be played against Everton at Old Trafford on August 3- four days before the Community Shield fixture with Leicester- has also meant a shorter trip this time around.

The Reds overseas tours are usually closer to three weeks in length and feature at least four matches.
Under David Moyes in 2013, the club visited Thailand, Australia, Japan and Hong Kong whilst Louis Van Gaal led United in North America for the past two years. 

The Tour is always exciting for fans as we get to see any new signings don the Red shirt for the first time and get an idea of any new tactics and formations ahead of the new season

United's pre-season schedule 2016:

22 July v Borussia Dortmund, Shanghai (KO TBA)
25 July v Manchester City, Beijing (KO TBA)
3 August v Everton, Old Trafford (Rooney testimonial)
7 August v Leicester City, Wembley (Community Shield) 

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