Manchester United legend and ambassador Andy Cole knows a thing or two about pre-season tours, and the Treble winner cannot wait to see United take on some of Europe’s finest in the US this summer.
“I wish I was playing in games like these. Pre-season is very different now and these aren’t like the games that used to be classed as friendlies. Playing against big teams will give the squad the perfect preparation for the season, playing in high-tempo matches, in front of big crowds. Whenever United face Liverpool it’s always a game that everybody wants to watch, and that will be the same in the summer at the Big House. It’s an impressive stadium and no doubt the fans in America can’t wait for this.”
“Huge game. It's massive and one that has so much history. It’s about rivalry between two big clubs and cities. It’s always one of the first fixtures that I used to look for and fans will be excited by this game in July.”
“I played in a few of these games and scored four times in these derbies, so I have a lot of great memories. Any game when we can take three points is an important one. These points would help us towards winning titles, so overall, great memories.”
“Of course. You look at the teams playing in the ICC and it’s huge. The biggest teams in Europe are all competing and it’s a chance to get one over your rivals, show them what they’re in for over the course of the season.”
We face AC Milan in LA – what kind of test will they provide?
“Milan have had great players over the years and are massive. They will provide a really good test for the lads.”
“We have faced them a few times in America now and these games are the ones that everybody wants to see. [There were] over 109,000 fans the other year, which tells you how big this game is; it’s two of the biggest teams in the world, going head-to-head. It’s massive.”
“What can you say about him that hasn’t already been said? He continues to break records at the highest level and we are seeing one of the greatest of all time. He is up there with the best and he can do anything.”
“I remember watching him, coming off the bench on his debut [against Bolton Wanderers], and seeing a young player who just had raw talent. Working with Sir Alex has given him the best possible grounding. He worked with the best and you can see that. He made a great impact at United, learning the game and becoming the player that he is today. The boss will have talked to him, given him the correct advice and made sure that he developed and improved his game.”
“You can see that by the excitement amongst people here ahead of the tour. The MLS keeps getting bigger too, with more teams joining the league and more players going there. Zlatan has the huge personality that will make him be a great story for LA Galaxy, as well as his undeniable talent, which we witnessed on his debut with that great goal!”
“perfect”– how big a factor is having great training facilities during pre-season and being able to get the important groundwork done for the season?
“It’s very important, as it sets the standard and expectation for the season ahead. Pre-season is a lot of hard work with back-to-back sessions, hot weather and it can be tough. Having the perfect set-up makes a big difference. It’s a professional environment and it’s key to the start you make in the season.”