Ex-player Danny Higginbotham is travelling on Tour 2014, presented by Aon, as a pundit for MUTV. Here he reflects on the third and fourth stops...
This is my first tour with the club since I was a player here and I don’t think I could have picked a better one. Not just because of the calibre of the opposition – Roma, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and now Liverpool – but also because of the standard of play from United.
Louis van Gaal is bringing the best out of his players and to see how quickly he’s transforming the club from a football point of view is phenomenal. I’ve always had the utmost respect for him for what he has achieved in the game and I feel very fortunate to be seeing now just how he’s achieved it.
The Washington DC leg of the tour was enjoyable off the pitch as well as on it, presenting us with an opportunity to see some of the most iconic buildings in America. Just going for a morning run from the hotel took me past the White House and the Lincoln Memorial and gave me views of Capitol Hill and Washington Monument. Football-wise, this was the game that van Gaal picked as the best performance so far, even though it ended 0-0.
Inter Milan are very good defensively and whenever they lost the ball, they would drop back and get into shape rather than press to win it back. That made them difficult to break down but United still created a few chances and were without doubt the dominant force in the game. I think that performance pleased the manager because you could see the players growing into the new system and, in some cases, adapting to brand new positions.
Take Ashley Young as a shining example. He’s been one of the standout performers at left wing-back, a position he’d never played in prior to this tour. He’s clearly listened to van Gaal and I expect he’ll now be very high up in the manager’s thoughts on team selection for the first league game. You have to give full credit to Ashley – he’s obviously thought, as a winger, he