The World Cup may be nearing its end but fear not, Manchester United will very soon be back in action.
Indeed, next Sunday (15 July), the day of the final at Russia 2018, the Reds will be flying out to America for the start of Tour 2018, presented by Aon.
The three-week trip to the States will provide Jose Mourinho's squad with a chance to build up fitness ahead of the 2018/19 campaign, as well as bonding off the pitch during what is always an important time for new signings to assimilate.
The action begins with games against Club America (19 July) and San Jose Earthquakes (22 July), before International Champions Cup clashes with AC Milan (25 July), Liverpool (28 July) and Real Madrid (31 July), and a final prestige friendly against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena (5 August).
“Playing big matches against big teams like Barcelona and others is brilliant,” said Eric Bailly, who is set to be on the plane to the US as his Ivory Coast side did not qualify for the World Cup.
“This year we have teams like Real Madrid. It was a really good experience (last year) and I hope that this year we can prepare as well as we did last year.
“It’s very good to play these kinds of games because it helps with your preparations for the new season and with your fitness. It’s always good to play against the big teams and test yourself against the best players.
This is the second consecutive year that United have travelled to America for pre-season and the players are looking forward to connecting with our US fanbase, just as they did 12 months ago.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Chris Smalling, another player who hasn't been involved in Russia.
“We tweet them and write to them on Instagram and things during the season, but it’s nice to be able to see them face-to-face and see them enjoy our games and training sessions.”
Bailly agreed with his centre-back colleague and is hoping this year’s experience will be as positive as the 2017 tour.
“The fans were amazing: we spent time with them in LA and the support they showed us was amazing,
“ he said. ”Man United is a big club and when you travel with the team you can see what great fans we have all over the world.
With the Premier League opener against Leicester City just over a month away, Smalling recognises the importance of the first few weeks of training, which are necessarily gruelling for all the players.
“I think the first four or five weeks especially are usually all double sessions,” he said.
“That’s when we get our base fitness for the whole campaign and that’s probably the most critical phase for us for starting the season.”
TOUR MATCH TICKETS
Match tickets for all of United’s games in the United States in July are now on general sale. Don’t miss out, visit manutd.com/tour2018tickets to secure your place on Tour 2018, presented by Aon.