"It’s incredible how popular United are in Asia and how much interest the tour has generated – it makes you very proud to be associated with the club when you see the reaction out here."

- Peter Schmeichel

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20/02/2013 09:00, Report by Steve Bartram

Tour excitement is building

A thrilling 2012/13 campaign is far from done and dusted, but over in the Far East the anticipation is already building for United's preparations for next season.

Club ambassador Peter Schmeichel recently visited Japan and Hong Kong to help announce pre-season fixtures against local opposition, and the former Reds goalkeeper was staggered by the fervour already building ahead of United's arrival in July.

"It was a really good trip," Schmeichel told "It’s incredible how popular United are and how much interest the tour has generated – it makes you very proud to be associated with the club when you see the reaction out here."

While Tour 2013 presented by Aon will provide important interaction between Sir Alex Ferguson's players and their global audience, Schmeichel admits the squad must be prepared for a taxing schedule in readiness for the 2013/14 campaign.

"There’s going to be plenty of travelling involved and it’ll be a tough pre-season for the players – especially when you consider that they’ll be playing against some strong opposition," added the Dane.

"Certainly when I was playing, we would come up against teams who you expected to beat quite routinely. Now it’s not so straightforward, especially with the popularity of the players ensuring that teams will try so hard to beat them.

"Pre-season is a process. For argument’s sake, let’s say you start out at 50 per cent match fitness; those pre-season games are all about making up another 40 to 50 per cent in time for the season, and these games are an important part of the process."

More: Tour - Fixtures, news and features

Manchester United will be visiting fans across the world during Tour 2013, presented by Aon.
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