Andy Cole

United legend Andy Cole excited for Tour 2018

Friday 13 July 2018 16:44

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.

We sat down with our former goal machine to discuss all things Tour 2018…
We’re back in the US to face some top teams and rivals – how excited are you by the prospect of seeing three fantastic International Champions Cup games, including a game against our big rivals Liverpool?
"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."
When someone says United v Liverpool, what immediately springs to mind?
"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."
Andy Cole on United v Liverpool says

"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 scored four times in these derbies, so I have a lot of great memories."

What are your favourite memories of facing them?
"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." 
Yes, it’s a pre-season game, but both sides will want to win…
"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."

United v Real Madrid – that’s some game to end the tour with…
"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."
Cristiano Ronaldo – go! Where does he rank in football history?
"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."
Of course, he’s broken every record at Real Madrid, but what would you say about the important groundwork and football and life lessons he learned at United and from Sir Alex – how have they helped him make him into the player he is today?
"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." 
Andy Cole says

"I wish I was playing in games like these. There were over 109,000 fans at the Big House for the Real Madrid game the other year, which tells you how big the games are."

The profile of soccer in the US continues to grow, doesn’t it? Zlatan has certainly caught the eye already!
"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!"
LA is where we’ll have our training camp, at UCLA. Jose called last season’s tour “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."