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Phil Jones

Jones: Tour has always been amazing

Manchester United defender Phil Jones is expecting another blockbuster summer for the Reds, with the start of Tour 2018, presented by Aon, just days away.

Jose Mourinho’s men will venture Stateside once again this summer, for five important pre-season tests, including mouthwatering match-ups against domestic rivals Liverpool and the current Champions League holders, Real Madrid.
 
Despite his relatively tender age of 26, Jones is a veteran of the club's globe-straddling pre-season exploits. The Lancastrian joined in the summer of 2011 – as did fellow squad members David De Gea and Ashley Young – and cannot speak highly enough of the impact of the overseas trips.
 
“From the first time I came on tour, it’s been amazing,”
Jones told us, before he headed to the World Cup with England.
“The fans are outside your hotel constantly and they turn out in huge numbers for the games.”
David De Gea, Phil Jones and Ashley Young
Jones with his new United colleagues, De Gea and Young, in New York in 2011.
Jones made his debut for the club that summer in a 3-2 victory over Chicago Fire – Bastian Schweinsteiger’s current club – in front of 61,308 fans at Soldier Field. But the highlight from the several trips the Preston-born defender has made to the States remains a meeting with Real Madrid in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 2014.
 
“We had over 100,000 [fans] last time we played Real Madrid [the official attendance was 109,318] which was unbelievable. We’re all looking forward to it this year. I’m sure it will be another special tour and hopefully we can do well.”
 
Jones also identified the facilities and training opportunities available in the States as crucial to the fitness and preparation work the Reds will be undertaking ahead of the 2018/19 season.
 
“The facilities are top drawer and they can’t do enough for you out there. It helps us massively because it makes it easier for the players, the staff and everyone involved. It’s a big boost to get a good pre-season under your belt.”
 
The pre-season schedule begins with a match against Mexico City outfit Club America in Phoenix on Thursday 19 July and continues three days later in Santa Clara where United meet the San Jose Earthquakes.
 
The International Champions Cup follows, with the Reds scheduled to face AC Milan, Liverpool, and Real Madrid for what promises to be three exciting matches.

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A whole host of other leading European teams will be taking part in the league-based competition, including Italian champions Juventus, reigning Spanish kings Barcelona, Paris Saint Germain and Manchester City. The side with the best record from their three games will be crowned champions.
 
“It’s always good to face the best teams,”
Jones believes.
“Playing against the best players helps get you ready for the Premier League season. Being ready means testing yourself against the best and that’s exactly what we’ll be doing in the summer.”
 
After the tour concludes against Real Madrid in Miami, Florida on Tuesday 31 July, the Reds return to Europe. The pre-season programme will be completed in Germany on Sunday 5 August, when United face Bayern Munich at a newly revamped Allianz Arena.
 
United’s competitive season kicks off the following Friday with the visit of Leicester City to Old Trafford, as the 2018/19 Premier League begins.