United youngsters get ready for Dallas Cup
Manchester United have sent a young squad to the United States to compete in the 2018 Dallas Cup.
In a break from setting the pace in the Under-18 Premier League, Kieran McKenna's side arrive in Texas in the hope of making a mark against various opponents from different countries.
“Our squad for Dallas is a young one, as it's mostly a youth-team group at this stage with one or two additions from the Under-23s,” McKenna told ManUtd.com ahead of the trip.
WHAT IS THE DALLAS CUP?
Launched in 1980, the Dallas Cup is the most prestigious youth football tournament in the United States and is regarded as one of the most competitive in the world. Held every year during Easter week, it has football clubs from all around the world fielding teams in age groups from Under-13 to Under-19.
In previous years, United legends in the making have impressed in the tournament, such as Michael Carrick with West Ham and Wayne Rooney during his formative years at Everton. The Reds last reached the final in 2012, when Jesse Lingard was one of the key members of the squad.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
“It's a really strong tournament,” McKenna reckons.
“The club has played in it a few times and, on a personal level, I'm really looking forward to it because it's my first time.
"We hope to do well and progress in the tournament but, no matter what, the players get lots of experience and learn some valuable things going forward.
“The first game is against Tigres on Sunday night and it's going to be a great event. I think there's a healthy United following in Dallas so that's really positive.
"We're playing against a team who are a lot more familiar with the environment, but it's on the first day, it's the main game in the main stadium [the Cotton Bowl Stadium] and it's a fantastic opportunity for us. We're looking forward to getting out there and getting stuck into it.
HOW HAVE WE FARED IN THE PAST?
The Reds missed out on a place in the knockout rounds last year, after finishing third behind Brazilian club Coritiba and C.D. Guadalajara from Mexico in a group also featuring US side Real Salt Lake. Prior to 2017, the last time United appeared at the tournament was in 2013, when we were also eliminated in the group stage. However, we reached the final in 2012, only to be eventually beaten 2-1 by Coritiba.
Going into this year's competition, the Reds' Academy boys have been in fine form and lead the Under-18 Premier League North table after winning the last four games in a row, scoring an astonishing 17 goals.
WHEN ARE WE IN ACTION?
The Reds are in 'Bracket A' of the Under-19 Gordon Jago Super Group and will play against Mexican side Tigres this Sunday, 25 March, before facing Toronto FC on Monday. Should United progress, there'll be a semi-final to play on Friday 30 March, with a place in the final on Sunday 1 April up for grabs.
BRACKET A FIXTURES
Sunday 25 March
Higashi Fukuoka FC v Toronto FC (13:30 local time, 19:30 UK)
Manchester United v Tigres (18:30 local time, 00:30 UK)
Monday 26 March
Toronto FC v Manchester United (14:00 local time, 20:00 UK)
Higashi Fukuoka v Tigres (14:00 local time, 20:00 UK)
United squad: Alex Fojticek, Matej Kovar, James Thompson; Di'Shon Bernard, Max Dunne, Luca Ercolani, Jake Kenyon, Ethan Laird, George Tanner, Brandon Williams; Aidan Barlow, Tahith Chong, Ethan Galbraith, James Garner, Dylan Levitt, Dion McGhee, Largie Ramazani; Millen Baars, Joshua Bohui, Nishan Burkart, Mason Greenwood, D'Mani Mellor.