TOUR NEWS & FEATURES

11/07/2013 11:10, Report by Nick Coppack in Bangkok
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Rio relishing Thai trip

In the middle of an 11-hour flight, at the beginning of a three-week journey that will take in five cities in four countries and traverse more than 20,000 miles, Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand could easily have been daunted at what lay ahead.

But as we sat down in row 37 of our chartered flight to Bangkok - the first stop on Tour 2013 presented by Aon - Ferdinand was unmistakably upbeat. It might be the dawn of a new era at Manchester United but Rio, who celebrates more than a decade at the club with a testimonial game at Old Trafford against Seville on Friday 9 August, has seen it all before.

"Tours like this are great," he said. "You have to embrace them. We have fans all around the world who support us so it's good to give something back. They can't get to Old Trafford easily so it's nice for us to come to them.

"If you sit down and think: 'I'm going to be away from my family for three weeks and it's going to be really tough' then you won't enjoy it. You may as well not bother boarding the plane if that's your attitude. You need to be positive and that's what I try and do."

This year, as he has the past two summers, Ferdinand will be capturing behind-the-scenes footage of life on tour with the Reds for MUTV. Armed with a hand-held video camera, he'll show fans what it's really like to play for one of the biggest clubs in world football.

We can expect plenty of laughs along the way - Ferdinand is, after all, renowned for his unique brand of dressing-room banter - but the defender is quick to point out there's also a steely determination about the squad on this pre-season jaunt.

"I think it's natural that everybody here is trying to impress on this tour. When you get a new manager you want to show him that you should be in the starting XI for that first day of the new season and that process has started already.

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