Manchester United have landed on our shores and done some of the obligatory Sydney sightseeing before this coming weekend’s match against an A-League “All Star team.”
Normally these pre-season tours are a bit of a hit and giggle, but with David Moyes stepping into the massive shoes of Sir Alex Ferguson, more eyes than ever are on the Red Devils and their preparations. The Asia Pacific visit opened with a 1-0 loss in Thailand but Moyes seemed unperturbed when he met the Australian media.
He is expecting a good week of training as the stay in Sydney is the longest the club will be in one place during the tour.
Although injured Wayne Rooney and captain Nemanja Vidic have not made the trip, Manchester United stalwarts Rio Ferdinand and Ryan Giggs are here and superstar striker Robin van Persie will fly into Sydney and join the squad.
Giggs played in Australia in 1999, a tour that was infamous for Andy Cole’s brutal tackle on Simon Colosimo, which ripped the Aussie defender’s knee apart.
While Manchester United has a massive fanbase here in Australia, supporters have been skeptical of the All Stars concept. None of the true A-League superstars – Alessandro Del Piero, Shinji Ono, Archie Thompson – will play and the past week has seen a number of lower profile players added to the squad.
All Stars’ coach Ange Postecoglou – boss of Melbourne Victory – had his first training session with the thrown-together group and told the media he was pleasantly surprised by the fitness of his charges.
It’s a great time for English Premier League fans Down Under, with Liverpool due in Melbourne next week ahead of its friendly with Victory on July 24.