Darren Fletcher says he has fond memories of his first-ever pre-season tour with Manchester United and the speech he had to give as a new player to the squad back in 2003.
The Reds' trip to the States 11 years ago was Fletcher's maiden summer voyage with the senior side and took him to cities such as Seattle, Los Angeles, New Jersey and Philadelphia.
The midfielder - pictured above in the second game of the 2003 tour against Club America in LA - says he remembers the trip as if were yesterday and can't wait to make a return this month for Tour 2014, presented by Aon, having missed the last few pre-season expeditions through illness.
"It was a good experience, but a little bit daunting as well because I had to prepare my [initiation] speech," he recalls.
"Giggsy and Butty made sure they reminded me that I had an important speech coming up and that’s something that’s always in the back of your mind whilst you’re trying to impress in training - you know you’ve got to have your speech ready!
"The speech itself was just a blur. I recall trying to get on the good side of Roy Keane by giving him a few complimentary comments and I hoped that would help me along my way!"
"The tours are really important in helping you integrate into the squad as you’re with one another 24/7," he explains. "When you’re in Manchester you can go home after training but on tour you’re with your team-mates in the hotel socialising and you get to know people and their character.
"It helps the youngsters to become more confident around the first-team squad which in turn helps them on the training pitch. You notice the transition when they realise that they are just like everyone else and that is highlighted by