Manchester United legend Gary Neville speaks exclusively to ManUtd.com about pre-season tours and what Sir Alex's men can expect from Shanghai Shenhua...
United's pre-season tours have always been a mixture of fitness work, playing matches, meeting fans, meeting sponsors, attending coaching sessions, doing community work... and this tour is no different.
It’s particularly important to make a connection with the fans. I grew up in Manchester with the club on my doorstep and I always thought I was the guy who loved United most. But when you tour the world you see the way people in these countries support the club and you realise just how passionate fans are around the world.
They pay big money to come to Old Trafford, they camp outside your hotel, they turn up in huge numbers to training session... it’s mad! You can’t meet every single fan but it’s great to visit their country, play in their stadiums and take Manchester United to them for a change.
The dedication involved in following United from abroad is massive. They’re up all hours of the night watching every Premier League game. The commitment is incredible and a lot of them feel a strong connection with the club. They’re obsessed with football and Manchester United and it’s fantastic to see.
My first trip to Asia with United was in 1995. We went for two weeks and I had a brilliant time. We played in front of big crowds and saw a lot of interesting sights. It was the first tour for quite a lot of us