Sir Alex has reiterated his plan to play full-strength teams in Manchester United’s final three pre-season tour fixtures.
The Reds embarked on the first two stages of the DHL 2012 Tour – South Africa and China – without those players who featured in the summer’s European Championships. But August’s matches in Oslo, Gothenburg and Hanover – against Valerenga, Barcelona and Hannover 96 – will feature Sir Alex’s strongest squad, including Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck, Patrice Evra and Nani.
“They’ll have to play,” Sir Alex told MUTV. “There’s no doubt about that. We need to get those players up to the mark.”
But while some of the club’s biggest names will return to action on the forthcoming European leg of the tour, it’s unlikely those featuring in the Olympic Games will gain any pre-season minutes in a United shirt.
“There’s a bit of a complication with the Olympic Games,” Sir Alex admitted. “David De Gea is there with Spain, although they’re out now so he should be back with us this week.
“Rafael, I would imagine, will get to the final with Brazil. And then we’ve got Tom Cleverley and Ryan Giggs. When they rejoin us will depend on how far they get in the competition but they won’t be with us for the European games.
“There’s no problem [with their fitness, though]. They’ve been training for as long as we have and they’ll get plenty of games under their belt at the Olympics. I hope they do well and progress a long way in the competition. That would mean they could play five or six games. So I don’t have any concerns when it comes to their fitness.”