Manchester United unveiled today their 23-man travel roster for the upcoming four-market North American Tour. The list of international superstars includes legendary midfielders Ryan Giggs (Wales) and Paul Scholes (England), as well as Edwin Van der Sar (Holland), Nani (Portugal) and Dimitar Berbatov (Bulgaria).
The team’s recent marquee acquisition, heralded Mexican forward Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, is scheduled to join the squad in Houston on July 27. Chicharito scored two goals for Mexico at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Today the club announced that Gary Neville will not be traveling due to a last-minute setback at training (small tear to his calf muscle).
The 2009 English Premier League champions Manchester United will face the MLS All-Stars in the 2010 AT&T MLS All-Star Game at Reliant Stadium, in Houston, Texas, on Wednesday, July 28 (live on ESPN2 and TeleFutura at 7:30 p.m. CT). The game marks the last stop of the tour, which also includes matches against Major League Soccer’s Kansas City Wizards (July 25 in Kansas City) and Philadelphia Union (July 21 in Philadelphia), along with Scottish power Celtic F.C. (July 16 in Toronto). All-Star Game tickets are available at HoustonDynamo.com or by calling (713) 276-7500.
Manchester United’s North American tour is being presented by Major League Soccer and Creative Artists Agency (CAA). The tour will mark the first time United have played games in this region of the world since 2004.
Led by Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United is one of the most recognized clubs in the world, lifting a total of 18 English Premier League titles, four Carling Cups, three European Cups and a record 11 FA Cups. In 1999, United were the first team to win the treble (English Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League in one season). Founded in 1878, the Red Devils have competed in the top division of English soccer since 1938, with the exception of the 1974-75 season.
Giggs, a midfielder from Wales, is English football’s most decorated player. He has also made more appearances (838) that any other player in United’s history. Scholes has been a staple in the Manchester United midfield since making his debut in 1994. In additional to his 643 club appearances and 149 goals, he has been capped 66 times by the English national team, having played in two FIFA World Cups.
Van der Sar is the most capped player in the history of the Dutch National Team, and has won the UEFA Champions League with two different teams. Speedy winger Nani was on the Portuguese national team roster for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, but had to withdraw just days out due to a shoulder injury. Berbatov is the all-time leading scorer in the history of the Bulgarian national team and a six-time Bulgarian Player of the Year. He has scored 26 goals since joining Manchester United in 2008.
MANCHESTER UNITED 2010 NORTH AMERICAN TOUR ROSTER
GOALKEEPERS: Ben Amos (ENG), Tomasz Kuszczak (POL), Edwin van de Sar (NED)
DEFENDERS: Wes Brown (ENG), Fabio Da Silva (BRA), Rafael Da Silva (BRA), Ritchie De Laet (BEL), Corry Evans (NIR), Jonny Evans (NIR), John O'Shea (IRL), Chris Smalling (ENG)
MIDFIELDERS: Tom Cleverley (ENG), Darren Fletcher (SCO), Darron Gibson (IRL), Ryan Giggs (WAL), Nani (POR), Gabriel Obertan (FRA), Paul Scholes (ENG)
FORWARDS: Dimitar Berbatov (BUL), Mame Biram Diouf (SEN), Javier Hernandez (MEX) [will join in Houston on 27 July], Federico Macheda (ITA), Danny Welbeck (ENG)
MANAGER: Sir Alex Ferguson
MANCHESTER UNITED 2010 NORTH AMERICAN TOUR SCHEDULE
July 16 Manchester United vs. Celtic F.C 6:00 pm CT Rogers Centre, Toronto
July 21 Manchester United vs. Philadelphia Union 6:30 pm CT Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia
July 25 Manchester United vs. Kansas City Wizards 5:00 pm CT Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City
July 28 2010 AT&T MLS All-Star Game vs. Manchester United 7:30 pm CT Reliant Stadium, Houston
ABOUT THE MANCHESTER
BEN AMOS – 20-year-old goalkeeper has worked his way through the Old Trafford ranks since the age of 11; made his first team debut in September 2008.
TOMASZ KUSZCZAK – The Poland international made a stunning penalty save in his United debut.
EDWIN VAN DER SAR – In 2007/2008, the Dutch international kept an incredible 24 clean sheets in all competitions; is his nation’s most capped player.
WES BROWN - A veteran of 13 seasons with United, the rugged defender has 23 appearances for England’s national team.
RAFAEL DA SILVA – 20-year-old Brazilian right back was a finalist for the Premier League’s Young Player of the Year for the 2008-2009 season.
FABIO DA SILVA – Rafael’s twin brother, Fabio plays on the left side of United’s defense.
RITCHIE DE LAET – Belgian international is eyeing more playing time after being named the Manchester United Reserve Player of the Season in May 2010.
CORRY EVANS – Younger brother of defender Jonny Evans, Corry settled and excelled at centerback for United’s Reserves, rising through the ranks to train regularly with the senior squad and has been named to a handful of first team squads.
JONNY EVANS – Older brother of defender Corry Evans, Northern Ireland center back has 19 international appearances for his country.
JOHN O’SHEA – Versatile Republic of Ireland international has played every position – including goalkeeper – during his 11 seasons with United.
CHRIS SMALLING – Former Fulham defender joined United earlier this year.
TOM CLEVERLEY – A bright future beckons for the 20-year old; was nominated for the prestigious Denzil Haroun Reserve Player of the Year award.
DARREN FLETCHER – One of United’s most consistent performers, Fletcher was named captain of the Scottish national team in August 2009.
DARRON GIBSON – A regular for the Republic of Ireland, Gibson scored five goals in 23 appearances in the 2009/2010 season.
RYAN GIGGS – Nicknamed “The Welsh Wizard,” Giggs has played for Manchester United his entire professional career, holding a host of records, including being British football’s most decorated player. In the 2009-2010 season, his 11 assists tied him for fifth best in the EPL.
NANI – Powerful and speedy Portuguese international put together a string of hugely impressive displays and contributed vital goals to win over fans in the 2009/2010 season.
GABRIEL OBERTAN – French international has progressed through the ranks for his country receiving caps at Under 16, 17, 18 and 19 levels. Is currently involved in the French U- 21 squad.
PAUL SCHOLES – The 35-year-old midfielder has spent his entire professional career with the Red Devils, and represented the England national team in the 1998 and 2002 World Cups.
DIMITAR BERBATOV – The all-time leading goal scorer for Bulgaria’s national team (48 goals in 78 appearances), Berbatrov is known for scoring spectacular goals.
MAME BIRAM DIOUF – Senegalese international joined United in 2009 after three seasons in Norway.
JAVIER HERNANDEZ – Mexican standout scored two goals at the World Cup in South Africa … could become "a major influence" with United, according to the club’s assistant manager Mike Phelan.
FEDERICO MACHEDA – 18-year-old Italian forward has 3 goals in 9 league appearances for United … known as “Kiko”.
DANNY WELBECK – Rising young winger/striker has often been compared to Nigerian star Nwankwo Kanu.