"I like this stage of the year a lot... I feel good when I'm working."

- Rafael

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02/07/2013 09:00, Report by G Thompson, N Coppack

Rafael ready for work

Early July is not always the players' favourite time of year, with the need to regain full fitness being the order of the day before the squad starts playing matches again on tour. But United right-back Rafael insists he actually relishes this period...

"Pre-season is always good, it’s enjoyable. I like this stage of the year a lot. Of course, there is a lot of running! But it’s good as well because when you come back from holiday, sometimes you can get tired from doing nothing. I feel good when I’m working.

"The pre-season tours are a big part of preparation work for the new season. If you play well, you can put a thought in the manager’s mind and maybe change his mind if you perhaps weren’t in his plans for the first few games.

"Not only are we able to put in some hard work on the training pitch when we're on tour, it's good to see different cultures and different things. It's great that we're able to visit countries across the world because we have so many fans. We are a big club and we have supporters everywhere and it’s good for us to go on tour and see them. They give us so much support and it's great that we're able to meet some of them, especially those who aren't able to get to Old Trafford.

"The tour is a great experience for the young players and the older players like Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand are always really encouraging when we're away and help us a lot. I'm sure this year's tour will be another great trip and it's one we're all looking forward to."

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