It is less than three weeks until European giants Manchester United bring a side packed with stars to Australia to take on Perth Glory at Optus Stadium, with United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saying the match will offer a chance to compare the Hyundai A-League with its all-conquering English cousin.
The Red Devils, England’s most successful club with 20 domestic titles and six European trophies to their credit, are expected to bring a full-strength squad down under as they take on the Glory on July 13, followed by an exhibition match against bitter English Football League rivals Leeds United at the same venue four days later.
Solsjkaer, who oversaw a sixth-place finish in the Premier League last season after taking over from former boss Jose Mourinho in December 2018, is looking forward to the club’s first official visit to West Australia in 44 years and says he expects to put out a strong side against the Premiers.
“To play against Perth will be a good reference point on how the leagues compare,” he said. “And games against Leeds are always huge.”
With no World Cup or European Championship taking place over the European close season – and only minimal disruption to his squad from the Copa America and Africa Cup of Nations tournaments – Solskjaer is looking forward to unleashing many of his senior stars down under, with the likes of England stars Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard, and Spain 'keeper David de Gea set to feature.
"Summer has been kind to us in that respect [with no FIFA World Cup or other competitions affecting the United squad] so we will travel to Perth with the full first-team squad," he told the club’s official TV channel MUTV.
Everybody should be available to be picked. Hopefully they are all fit when they come back [from the close season]. The first team is going to be there."
United are scheduled to return for pre-season training on July 1, before flying to Australia for their high-profile clashes with Leeds United and Hyundai A-League Premiers Perth Glory. They will then jet off for further matches in Singapore and Shanghai.
United’s England international defender Chris Smalling says the tour will give some of the club’s fringe players the chance to impress.
"It's very much an exciting time for them and you want to see them flourish and help them,” Smalling told manutd.com.
“I’m sure a good number will come on tour and it’s really a time for them to bond with us, and show the manager what they are all about."
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