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Manchester United announced their itinerary for the pre-season tour of South Africa way back in April – and with most of the Manchester United squad due to report back to Old Trafford for pre-season training on Monday (July 3rd) (finally, Gill and Ferguson will return from holidays as well), let’s look at the first step in Manchester United’s preparations for the 2006/2007 season.
Manchester United have made a commitment to include all players that are not participating beyond the second round on the World Cup, which means that World Cup stars such as Ji Sung Park, Edwin van der Sar, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Nemanja Vidic will be available for selection. Having said that, Vidic is injured, van der Sar is probably suffering from depression (although he should still go) while Ruud might be booted out of camp the moment he arrives.
The rest of the Manchester United contingent – including Giggs, Rossi, Solksjaer, Scholes, O’Shea, Fletcher, Wes Brown, Richardson, Pique and Ben Foster, should be able to make the trip. Last year’s trip saw the emergence of Richardson as a genuine contender for a starting berth – let’s hope that this time he can establish himself and build upon his performances in the Premiership (most notably that 35-yard scorcher against Charlton).
Manchester United South Africa Tour Dates (Vodacom Challenge)
- Saturday, July 15 – Orlando Pirates v Manchester United (Durban, 2pm BST).
- Tuesday, July 18 – Kaizer Chiefs v Manchester United (Cape Town, 7pm BST).
- Thursday, July 20 – Kaizer Chiefs v Orlando Pirates (Rustenburg, 7pm BST).
- Saturday, July 22 – Manchester United v winners of July 20 game (Pretoria, 2pm BST).
Future summer plans for Manchester United include the 4-team Amsterdam tournament as well as the official inauguration of the new quadrants of the Old Trafford stadium. United have still to decide on opponents, as Barca have backed out and Madrid look to be the only suitable ‘big-name’ club that might be available on the suggested dates.
More on these two events later.