Will Power

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Valencia to be given club-captain role

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has signalled that Antonio Valencia is set to be club captain for the new season.

The responsibility was held by Michael Carrick last season, who retired from playing at the end of the campaign and joined United's coaching team.

Valencia, 32, skippered the team in the 1-1 friendly draw with Club America in Arizona.

Speaking after the match, Mourinho said: "The captain was Valencia last season. I think he is going to be the captain.

"And when he doesn't play, we have to make decisions - it depends who is on the pitch. If [Chris] Smalling is, or if Ashley Young is, or if [Ander] Herrera is, or if [Juan] Mata is, if they are on the pitch, they are an option.

"I think a guy like [Nemanja] Matic has all the attributes to be Manchester United captain but of course he arrived only one year ago.

"But for me, I don't care too much about the captaincy, I care more about the life in the dressing room and the leaders in the dressing room."

United's next match of the tour is against San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday in California. Their opening Premier League fixture is on August 10 against Leicester at home.

Herrera: De Gea Still World's Best

Ander Herrera insists David de Gea is the best goalkeeper in the world, despite a difficult World Cup, and expects him to prove it this season.

De Gea committed a high-profile error in Spain's opening game of the tournament - a 3-3 draw with Portugal - when he let a Cristiano Ronaldo shot squirm past him.

That led to De Gea receiving criticism in his native Spain but Herrera is confident United's four-time player of the year will shrug it off.

"I don't care what the critics say," Herrera said. "He is the best goalkeeper in the world, by far, and he will show it again.

"When you are the best goalkeeper in the world and you don't make those amazing saves, everyone is going to talk.

"When I don't play very well, I don't get that criticism because I am not one of the best in the world, but he is, so it's normal and he will cope with it."

De Gea has long been a fan favourite at Old Trafford, even after nearing joining Real Madrid in 2015, and Herrera is confident that will continue.

"They are very loyal. They have already shown that to him and he knows he's going to get them back," Herrera said.

"We are very relaxed because he is going to show again that he is the best in the world and he will give us again eight or 10 points this season.

"I remember that difficult summer when everyone was talking about Real Madrid and he played the first game at Old Trafford and everyone was singing his name and he told me: 'This is amazing, they are the best.'"

De Gea is still enjoying time off after his World Cup exploits, along with many of United's other established players.

That has led to opportunities for a number of young players on United's preseason tour of the United States.

Demetri Mitchell, Axel Tuanzebe, Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong and Mason Greenwood all featured in United's 1-1 draw with Club America in their opening game and Herrera has been impressed by their contributions.

"They are very good. They are training fantastic," Herrera said. "This club - one of the things I like the most is that we give a lot of importance to the academy.

"Not every team in the Premier League can say the same. We are the biggest club in the Premier League but we give a lot of importance to the academy."

Dutch forward Chong caught the eye against Club America as he helped set up United's goal and Herrera revealed he has been one of a number of impressive performers in training.

"I like him because he is very brave. When he trains he is not scared of trying new things and taking people on in one-on-ones. He wants to learn and he listens a lot in training.

"I am also very surprised about [James] Garner. Angel also has a lot of quality and the striker [Greenwood], I didn't know he was 16 years old and he was fighting against men, so I am very confident and I hope one day that they kick our ass out of the club. That will show that the club is doing the right things."

Reds boosted as Alexis Sanchez trains at UCLA

Alexis Sanchez has trained with his Manchester United team-mates in the USA for the first time, after landing in Los Angeles and joining the squad for Tour 2018, presented by Aon.

The Chile international had previously been busy working with one of the fitness coaches at the Aon Training Complex, but he can now enjoy being part of Jose Mourinho’s squad once again. It is now hoped that Alexis will play a part in Sunday’s friendly match against San Jose Earthquakes.

“His arrival is a boost for the squad and this pre-season training will be good for him,” said Denis Irwin during the live training show on MUTV. “Alexis came to the club in January and he knows the Premier League, but this is a chance to get his team-mates even better. You can't beat pre-season!

“Don't forget he has been working at the Aon Training Complex as well, so he is not rusty, he is up to speed, and that leads me to think he will play a part against San Jose Earthquakes.

“We need his experience as well up top. With Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford not out here after the World Cup, we are a bit thin on the ground in terms of experienced strikers and I have no doubt that Alexis will play up the middle at some points against San Jose Earthquakes.”

Amazingly, Alex has just completed his first full summer break in nine years due to his commitment to the Chile national team. Bryan Robson believes the long-overdue rest will benefit the player, who joined the club from Arsenal in January and hopes to start the new season with a bang.

“He is a top class player, there is no doubt about that and I think he is a great signing,” Robbo told us. “He didn't play to the top of his form when he first came but I think, maybe, he was trying too hard to impress, not playing his natural game. That will all settle down. He knows the manager, he knows how the manager wants to play and I think we will see a really classy Sanchez this season.”

Mourinho has already suggested Alexis will appear against San Jose Earthquakes in Santa Clara, telling MUTV: “When he lands, he has to play, because he trained with us for five days before we departed to LA and we left one fitness coach behind with him. Of course, it is individual training but, when he arrives, he has to play. If he is coming, he has to play.”

Previously, at a press conference in the US, the boss also discussed the Chilean in his plan for the start of the Premier League campaign. “It is important to work with Juan Mata, Alexis and Anthony Martial, who we think are the players we have for the start of the season.”

Fitness coach Stefano Rapetti discusses his new role at United

Jose Mourinho has added some new faces to his coaching staff this summer and one of those is Stefano Rapetti, the team's new head of fitness.

Rapetti spent time working with Mourinho at Internazionale and the Italian is delighted to be reunited with his former manager at United.

The new coach spoke to MUTV at training on Saturday and had this say to say about his new role...

Can you tell us about your new role at the club?
“I am a fitness coach and now the head of fitness coaching for Manchester United. I am here because I worked with the manager, Jose Mourinho, at Inter Milan.”

You must have fond memories of that time in Italy with Jose?
“It was a very successful time and an amazing experience at Inter. We won all of the competitions, all of the tournaments, and I am very happy to be with him again at Manchester United.”

How are you getting along with your fellow coaches here at United?
“The new colleagues are fantastic. When I arrived they were very friendly with me right away and I think now we are already working well together.”

This is the first time working outside of Italy – you must be excited?
“Yes it is a fantastic experience for me. It is the first time I have worked out of Italy and I am sure that it will be a good experience.”

Jose Mourinho has already suggested this summer's pre-season tour of the US will benefit his new members of staff, as well as the players on the pitch.

“It’s good for them,” said the manager earlier this week. “I knew them all, for different reasons, in different circumstances. Rapetti was my assistant at Inter Milan for two seasons [2009-2011], so we were together and know each other well. But then for the last seven or eight years, when I went to Madrid, Chelsea and United, he went to Empoli and Sampdoria.”

Pereira hopes to make an impact at United in 18/19

Andreas Pereira hopes to impress Jose Mourinho this summer and make an impact at Manchester United in 2018/19, following a couple of educational loans in La Liga with Granada and Valencia.

The Academy graduate has spent the last two years in Spain playing first-team football and now plans to stake his claim at Old Trafford, having returned a much more experienced player.

“It was a very important year for me at Valencia and I learned a lot,” Pereira told us in an exclusive interview at the UCLA training facility in LA. “I had a lot of experiences out there and I am very happy to be back. I am ready to play.

“Yes this pre-season is very important for the team,“ he continued. ”We have to prepare very well for what is coming up next and I am doing my best to get minutes, and to show that I am ready.”

Pereira rose through the ranks of the United youth system as a livewire forward, but his future looks set to be in central midfield as a creative ball-player following a conversation with Mourinho.

As Andreas told us in America, he is learning every day from the manager and the club’s new first-team coach Michael Carrick.

“The manager asked me what position I will play and I said I will play any position he would like,” the 22-year-old explained. “Now I am in this position as a number six. I will try to do my best and of course everyone is helping me a lot, including the manager, by telling me what to do.

“Carrick is also helping me in every training session and it is very important. It is not only them, but all of the other coaches as well. They're helping me a lot and I am learning new things every day.

“Michael was one of the best [central midfielders] in the world and one of the best that Manchester United ever had. He gives me tips, he tells me in training what to do and it is very easy when he tells you. You pick it up straight away and it is very easy to learn from him.”

ANALYSIS OF PEREIRA’S BIG SEASON

United legend Denis Irwin speaking on MUTV…

“There is nobody better to learn from. Michael had an absolutely fantastic career playing for Manchester United, and obviously West Ham and Spurs before that. I am delighted that he is still with us on the first-team coaching staff. I think he will be a brilliant coach. He has got a great temperament. For somebody like Andreas to be coached by Michael Carrick can only be good.

“We have seen Jesse Lingard go out on loan to a number of clubs and his development was slow, because of his physical development and stature, which stopped him from playing for Manchester United sooner. But we saw the benefits of that eventually.

“Andreas went out to Granada and then Valencia, who finished in the top four last season and I think he played 22 games for them, which is great because it is a really tough league over there. He played at a really good level and I'm sure he will be given an opportunity on this pre-season to show the manager what he can do.

“He has said will play in any position and you would say that, because you don't want to pigeonhole yourself into one position. But he is very confident on the ball, he gets around well and he can score the odd goal. This is a very important pre-season for him.”

Friday, July 20, 2018

Mourinho explains new coaching set-up

Manchester United’s pre-season trip to the United States is not just a period of vital importance for the players, but also for the first team’s new-look coaching team, according to manager Jose Mourinho.

The departure of the Portuguese’s long-term assistant Rui Faria at the end of last season prompted changes, which means that United hero Michael Carrick, former Under-18s coach Kieran McKenna and new arrival Stefano Rapetti will be among those supporting the boss during 2018/19.

Speaking exclusively to MUTV before the team’s third day of training at the UCLA campus in Los Angeles, Mourinho explained he was delighted to be working more closely with some familiar faces.

“It’s good for them [the coaches],” said Jose, of the pre-season period. “I knew them all, for different reasons, in different circumstances. Rapetti was my assistant at Inter Milan for two seasons [2009-2011], so we were together and know each other well. But then for the last seven or eight years, when I went to Madrid, Chelsea and United, he went to Empoli and Sampdoria.

“Michael, of course, I know very well and he knows me very well, but he was a player and now it’s the first steps for him, in this period, to grow up and feel more comfortable in a new role.

“And Kieran, I know him from the club and I know he’s got potential, which is why I decided to bring him up. For him, it’s also good that half of the tour squad are his boys [from last season’s Under-18 team], for his confidence, and when he starts to work with the whole squad, he’s more adapted.“

Alexis set to fly out to United States

There is good news on the Alexis Sanchez front as the Chilean star has been given the green light to fly to the United States to join Tour 2018 presented by Aon.

The South American forward should be available soon to link up with his colleagues, following the first match of the trip against Club America in Arizona. With Jose Mourinho keen to prepare his troops for the new campaign but already missing a number of internationals who were on World Cup duty, the arrival of Alexis is a timely boost.

The stellar signing in January has been maintaining his fitness at the Aon Training Complex for the last few days but finished his final session there on Thursday.

He is now due to fly across the Atlantic Ocean to Los Angeles in order to be reunited with the squad.

United take on San Jose Earthquakes, AC Milan, Liverpool and Real Madrid after facing Club America in the opener.

The manager has already suggested Alexis is in line to start the Premier League campaign in a three-pronged attack alongside Anthony Martial and Juan Mata.

'The kids are having a great experience on Tour 2018'

Over half of Jose Mourinho’s matchday squad against Club America was from the Manchester United Academy and that undoubtedly bodes well for the future of the club.

The Reds enjoyed a beneficial workout against the tough Mexican side in Arizona and secured a 1-1 draw in the process, after Juan Mata equalised to cancel out Henry Martin’s opening goal.

Our goal was inspired by some top approach play from Tahith Chong, who was substituted into the action during the second half alongside his youth colleagues Angel Gomes and Mason Greenwood.

All three of them gained some crucial experience from playing in the first team that will surely benefit them in the future. The same can be said for fellow prospects Josh Bohui, Ethan Hamilton, James Garner and Ro-Shaun Williams, who all watched and learned from the bench against Club America.

With Joel Pereira, Axel Tuanzebe, Tim Fosu-Mensah, Scott McTominay, Demi Mitchell and Andreas Pereira also involved in the game, there were some 13 Academy graduates in the 23-man squad.

“It is very good news for the club and especially the Academy that we have so many kids with us,” Mata said on MUTV, while collecting his Man of the Match award. “I think they are having a great experience by training with us and the manager, seeing what Manchester United represents around the world and I think the future is bright for Manchester United with these Academy players.”

Jose Mourinho was also pleased with the performances of the young players in a match that he described as a “good training session”. Speaking on MUTV after the final whistle, the manager was asked to comment on the performance of Chong and his role in Mata’s second-half finish.

“Tahith was good,” Jose said. “He came with the intention to show himself and in a moment when we had no strikers on the pitch, after Anthony Martial had left, we needed people to create and have some initiative, which he did.

“The action for the cross which led to the goal was beautiful. He was enthusiastic and he had the confidence to play. Of course, physically he has limitations and when he has one more touch, and that body contact, he loses for everyone. But when he makes the ball move and when he attacks people one against one he has quality. He is a good kid.”

Club legend Bryan Robson was also pleased to see so many of our Academy graduates involved in a first-team fixture.

“It is a nice introduction for these young boys,” our former club captain explained on MUTV. “I thought Chong looked really bright and sharp about his game when he came on. He put a great ball in when Juan scored. There were some nice touches, some nice speed and some good energy levels when he came on. He impressed when he came on the pitch.”

Jose's Verdict On Draw

Jose Mourinho has described Manchester United's competitive 1-1 draw against a physically-impressive Club America side in Arizona as a “good training session”.

Juan Mata’s late strike cancelled out Henry Martin’s header as the spoils were shared against the Mexican outfit in the first match of Tour 2018, presented by Aon.

The boss spoke exclusively to MUTV’s Stewart Gardner after the game at University of Phoenix Stadium. Catch up on his key quotes...

‘IT WAS A GOOD TRAINING SESSION’
“It was good. After five days of training, you need to play and it’s good to play against a team that is three days away from starting their Mexican league. [They were] a team with intensity, a team with quality that pushed us to levels that we weren’t prepared for but pushed us to these levels, so it was a good training session.”

‘ENTHUSIASTIC’ CHONG TOOK THE INITIATIVE
“He [Tahith] was good. He came with the intention to show [what he can do] and in a moment where we had no strikers on the pitch – [Anthony] Martial was the only one and then he left, so we had no strikers – so we needed people to create and have some initiative, which he did. The action for the cross for the goal [by Mata] was a beautiful action. He was enthusiastic and he was confident to play. Of course, physically he has his limitations and, when he had one more touch and he allowed the body contact [from defenders], of course he loses [the ball] for everyone. But when he makes the ball move and when he attacks people one against one, he has qualities – he’s a good kid.“

Later, in the press conference, Jose continued: ”We have plans to make him [Chong] train the most possible times with us because that increases his evolution. He has to play where he belongs, he has to play in the Academy and he has to work physically because physically is where he’s not ready. Technically he’s very good, tactically he understands the game. He understands his position. From the physical point of view, when the game gets into important situations, he’s in trouble, he’s fragile. He’s a kid, he’s still a kid, the talent is there, the personality is there, the passion, the desire to play, the humility to learn, so it’s a fantastic experience for him if he can play like today 20-25 minutes in every one of these five matches. If during the season, he trains with us and if during the season, he has a couple of occasions to play minutes with us, I don’t know, it depends, especially some cup matches. Of course he’s a good kid and it’s not for today, but for sure, he’s a good kid.”

ALEXIS NEEDS TO PLAY WHEN HE ARRIVES
“I don’t even know if he is flying, if he is in Los Angeles or if he is in Manchester – I have no idea about it. There will be no [Romelu] or [Marcus] Rashford, for sure, and we have to try with what we have. It’s not about if he can play, it’s about when he has to. When Martial left the pitch, it was Mata [leading the attack]. When Mata went to the sides, it was a kid that trained with us for the first time this pre-season [Mason Greenwood]. There’s no Lukaku or Rashford here and probably not even for the start of the Premier League, so it’s about when Alexis lands and when he lands, he has to play because he trained with us for five days before we departed to Los Angeles and we left one fitness coach behind with him to keep training with him. Of course, it’s individual training but when he arrives, he has to play.”

WE HAVE SEVERAL CAPTAINS
“Valencia will be the captain but when he doesn’t play, we have to make decisions – it depends who is on the pitch. If [Chris] Smalling is, if Ashley Young is, if [Ander] Herrera is or if Mata is, if they are on the pitch, they are an option. I think Nemanja Matic has all the attributes to be Manchester United captain but of course he only arrived one year ago. But for me, I don’t care too much about the captaincy, I care more about the life in the dressing room.”

THE PLAYERS SHOWED THEIR INTENTIONS
“It was a good training session for us and I think they start their league this week, so they were at a more advanced stage than us. I think both teams fought for a result. It was a friendly, the result was not the most important thing but I think the players fought for the result. I think in the first half we were the best team and had the best chances. In the second half, they were stronger than us and scored the goal, then without the only striker we have here [Anthony Martial] we had to try to go for it. The players showed their intentions.”

Friendly: Club America 1 Man. United 1

Manchester United kicked off Tour 2018, presented by Aon, with a 1-1 draw against Club America as Lee Grant made an impressive debut for the Reds in Phoenix.

The Mexican side took the lead on the hour mark thanks to a bullet header from Henry Martin, but Juan Mata ensured a share of the spoils for Jose Mourinho’s men in the first match of pre-season.

It was a lively start from both sides and Anthony Martial was unlucky not to receive a penalty on nine minutes after he appeared to be tripped in the area, but American official Kevin Stott was unmoved.

The Frenchman was involved again four minutes later when some neat interplay on the edge of the box resulted with Ander Herrera laying the ball off to the United frontman and his lovely curling effort grazed the top of the crossbar and flew over.

Minutes later, the woodwork saved Club America again as Mata made space inside the box and got a shot away amid a crowd of players, only to see his effort come back off the upright.

Martial saw another shot tipped around the post, before the action switched to the other end, where Grant was called upon for the first time as he saved well from Club America right-back Paul Aguilar.

The Mexican side were growing in confidence and Grant made another top stop from Roger Martinez before quickly getting back to his feet to claim the loose ball before the Club America attackers could pounce.

Mourinho decided to bring Joel Pereira on for the second half in United’s goal following an impressive 45 minutes for Grant and the young stopper could do nothing to keep out Martin’s powerful header after a fine left-wing cross from substitute Antonio Lopez on 60 minutes.

Luke Shaw, who is yet to score a senior goal, went close to restoring parity soon after when he took aim from inside the area, but his right-foot shot sailed inches wide.

A flurry of changes followed for both sides including the introduction of 16-year-old Mason Greenwood, who joined Tahith Chong and Grant in making their first-team bows. And it was Chong’s inviting cross which led to United’s equaliser on 78 minutes.

Herrera was at the back post to meet Chong’s centre but the Spaniard saw his header fly back off the post. The ball eventually rebounded back out to Mata, whose volleyed effort crept through the legs of substitute goalkeeper Oscar Jiminez.

The lively Greenwood took aim three minutes from outside the box but Jiminez parried clear.

That proved to be the last of the action in what was a solid workout for the Reds, who travel to Santa Clara on Sunday for the next Tour 2018 match against San Jose Earthquakes.

United: Grant (J.Pereira 46); Valencia (c) (Fosu-Mensah 46), Bailly, Smalling, Shaw (Greenwood 76); Herrera, McTominay (Tuanzebe 87), A.Pereira; Mata (Gomes 87), Martial (Chong 61), Mitchell (Darmian 61). Subs not used: Williams, Hamilton, Garner, Bohui.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Zlatan: Pogba proved his worth at the World Cup

Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes his former team-mate Paul Pogba has silenced his critics with his displays at the World Cup.

LA Galaxy forward Ibrahimovic was previously at Manchester United with Pogba, who has endured slightly mixed fortunes at Old Trafford.

The French midfielder has come in for criticism at times during his United stint and was even dropped on occasion last season by manager Jose Mourinho.

Pogba, however, was in fine form at the World Cup and was among the scorers in the final, as France beat Croatia 4-2 to win the tournament for the second time.

Ibrahimovic said: "I played with him for two years and people like to give their opinion, which they have the right to do.

"They judge but I think the result speaks for itself.

"You don't need to answer by your mouth, you can answer by your feet, and do what you are good at. That is the way it is supposed to be and the way I like to do it.

"He is young. He won the World Cup, he was in the Champions League final (with Juventus), the Europa League final (with United), the European (Championship) final (with France) - and he won many titles at Juventus.

"What more is there to say? Just enjoy the games and I know he will become better."

Credit: Skysports.com

Man. United determined to stop Man. City from retaining the title

Manchester United's hurt from neighbours Manchester City's Premier League plaudits will help them next season, says Graeme Souness.

Jose Mourinho's side came in for criticism for their style during 2017/18 despite finishing runners-up in the Premier League for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired five years ago.

Souness told Sky Sports News the pain of the praise City have received as they romped to a record-breaking title victory, breaking the 100-point barrier for the first time in Premier League history, would inspire United ahead of the new campaign.

"It's very hard to retain the Premier League," he said. "City have quality in every position, they have the ability to go out and outspend every opposition - but Manchester United will not be happy that City are getting all the plaudits in winning the trophy. They'll be bang at it.

"Liverpool will be stronger next year, and that makes them dangerous when you think of the firepower they have, and if Chelsea can get a proper centre-forward in I think they will be too, so long as they keep Thibault Courtois and Eden Hazard.


Eden Hazard has been linked with a big-money move to Real Madrid


"If Tottenham can invest and get a couple of genuine performers at the highest level, they will be a real danger. I couldn't pick one team because I know City will be chased and harried, more than they were last year, if that's possible. But if you were asking me the team to beat, I'd still say it will be them."

Credit: Skysports.com

Jose: Fantastic World Cup will only help Pogba

Jose Mourinho believes Paul Pogba’s sensational World Cup win with France is a huge positive for the 25-year-old midfielder, ahead of his third season since re-signing from Juventus.

The boss delivered his first press conference of the 2018/19 campaign in Los Angeles earlier today (Wednesday), ahead of Manchester United’s match against Club America on Friday (03:00 BST), and spoke gushingly of the Academy graduate’s performances in Russia.

“To win the World Cup can only be a positive thing,” suggested Mourinho. “So many players never had the chance to be a world champion, because their country was not strong enough or because they couldn’t help that team enough to make it happen. For Paul, to be world champion can only be fantastic.”

The Portuguese was also keen to give credit to Pogba for the way in which his contribution to France’s bid to win the competition increased as they progressed through the knockout stages.

“I hope that he understands why he was so good,” said Jose, of our no.6’s efforts. “In the second part of the competition – quarter-finals, semi-finals, final – he was, in my opinion, absolutely brilliant.

“I think that’s the point about his performance level and his contribution to a winning team – it’s for him to understand why he was so good.”

Pogba drew almost universal acclaim for the discipline and maturity of his displays, with a range of pundits including club legend Rio Ferdinand and former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger among the vocal admirers.

Mourinho also revealed that he had sent messages of support to all of the United players taking part in the World Cup, both before and after the tournament.

“I did with him [Pogba] what I did with all my players. I sent a nice message before the World Cup and during it, I did not disturb anyone. They needed to focus on the job for their national team.

“After the World Cup, I sent a different message than to the other guys, because he won the competition.”

The manager also believes success in Russia signals a bright future not only for Pogba, but the French national team, who boasted the second-youngest squad across the whole competition.

"It’s a young team. Apart from [Olivier] Giroud, [Hugo] Lloris and maybe one or two others that I don’t have in mind, they are all young. They have more Euros to play together; they have more World Cups to play together. So I think the future for him, together with that fantastic group of players in the national team can only be brilliant.”

Evidence shows tour can change lives

A lot of learning is going on at the UCLA – which is not a surprise, considering it is one of the USA’s foremost academic institutions.

But it’s at the Drake Stadium, at one end of this historic and colourful campus, where football lessons are being taught to pupils who are eager to learn.

The venue is United’s base during this summer's training camp in Los Angeles.

One man who is studying hard - perhaps as a mature soccer student - is our new goalkeeper Lee Grant, who joined the club from Stoke City earlier this month.

He’s a man who has pretty much seen it all as a professional - hundreds of games for the likes of Derby County, Sheffield Wednesday and Burnley in a distinguished career. And yet - he still feels he has a lot to learn.

In his first interview as a United player, which went out live on MUTV, Lee told me: “That’s probably the reason why I’m here. I’d say I’m a player that has always been happy to learn. I’m an open book.”

And who better to learn from than the world’s top keeper David De Gea, Argentina’s no.1 Sergio Romero and even Portugal’s top prospect Joel Pereira?

At the other end of football’s experience scale, what an incredible learning experience Tour 2018 will be for the eight teenagers who are making up part of this squad: Josh Bohui, Tahith Chong, James Garner, Angel Gomes, Mason Greenwood, Ethan Hamilton and Ro-Shaun Williams.

Training, preparing and socialising with the hugely experienced and successful players who’ve pretty much done it all will be a unique, money-can’t-buy, opportunity for these young Academy lads.

One of them, Mason Greenwood, is only 16 years old.

Just let that sink in a little bit… SIXTEEN!

I was barely allowed to cross the road on my own at the age of 16. But Mason is getting an opportunity that will stand him in good stead for his future career.

I’m sure these young players will be desperate to catch the eye of Jose Mourinho during training and, hopefully, in one of our five big games to come.

If they're in need of a role model, who better to gain inspiration from than Scott McTominay? The Academy graduate was in their shoes exactly a year ago and he is now an established first-team squad member, and a full International with Scotland.

The evidence shows that a lot can happen after a good pre-season tour - if you’re willing to learn!

The opinions in this story are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Manchester United Football Club.

Credit: Manutd.com

Shaw ready to take his chance at United

Manchester United defender Luke Shaw says he is continuing to work hard so he can be ready to take his chance ahead of the new season.

Like a number of players, the 23-year-old began his pre-season preparations during his summer break with a training trip to Dubai.

Shaw wants to make up for lost time after being unfortunate with injuries over the last few years, and he told reporters at United’s press conference on Wednesday that he’s determined to show his best form from the start of the campaign.

“I look back over the last few years and I haven’t really had a massive run in the team,” he admitted. “The year I broke my leg was the best year in my career at United. I felt really strong and good and obviously it was unfortunate with the injury.

“It’s annoying for me to say I need to prove myself but I know what I can do and that’s why I’m still here. I’m sure that’s what the manager thinks because I don’t think I would still be involved right now if he didn’t believe in me. I’ve had a good chat with him and I’m looking forward to the season and getting back to my best.

“For myself it was planned [to go out to Dubai to train] as I did it a few years ago with Adnan [Januzaj] and coming into pre-season it was the best I’d ever felt. I felt like I needed it [to go out to Dubai to train] because for the last few years I haven’t really had a proper full pre-season,” he added.

“A year ago today I was injured and doing rehab but I look at this year as being able to do a full pre-season and, right now, things are going really well and I feel really strong and good. I need to keep that up, not just now, but during the season and prove to people why I’m here.“

Mourinho has spoken of the opportunities available for all the players on tour with a number of the squad who played at the World Cup still unlikely to be available for the next few weeks as they recover from their exertions in Russia. And Shaw is focused on making the most of any chances that come his way.

“There aren’t just opportunities for me, there are opportunities for all the players,“ he insisted. ”I look at it like that and I’m training hard and when the games come around – the next five are all about fitness, I want to try to prove to the manager that I can be in his team. And not just for these games… when everyone comes back and everyone is fit and ready, I still want to be one of the first names on the team-sheet. It’s time for me to show him over the next few weeks in particular what I can do and why I deserve to be in his team.”

Mourinho provides tour squad update

Jose Mourinho has delivered an update to his squad during his first press conference of Tour 2018, presented by Aon.

Speaking in Los Angeles, the boss confirmed there is hope Alexis Sanchez can join the party at a later date, along with David De Gea, Fred and Nemanja Matic. Jose feels the early matches will be a great opportunity for the younger players but reinforcements will arrive soon.

There will also be chances for others to impress, with the opening fixture coming up in the early hours of Friday morning (03:00 UK time), against Club America, live on MUTV.

“Next week will come De Gea, Matic and Fred, which is good,” said the manager. “Especially Fred, a new player to be with us. Maybe it's good for Luke Shaw, Eric Bailly and Andreas Pereira, who is just back from a loan.”

The Reds who made the latter stages of the World Cup are unlikely to be ready to feature in the Premier League opener against Leicester City, which has been moved to Friday 10 August. Hence, Alexis's absence is particularly frustrating.

“It's really bad and he's really sad,” Jose said of the Chilean. “It's not good for him and not good for me, or for the team. There is no-one to blame. I know the club is making the effort but the US authorities have their processes. Hopefully, he can at least join us later because it is important to work with Juan Mata, Alexis and Anthony Martial, who we think are the players we have for the start of the season. There is no [Romelu] Lukaku, [Marcus] Rashford or [Jesse] Lingard.”

Portuguese recruit Diogo Dalot may be on the trip but he is unable to train and appears unlikely to be available until September.

The full-back had an operation before signing for the club and, despite making good progress, is still some way off full fitness.

“Dalot is injured,” confirmed Jose. “We knew that but we didn't want to lose him because of that. He is recovering really well. We think he can start training with the team when we go back to England. He is not going to be ready for the start of the season but we think he'll be ready for September.”


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Mourinho's heartfelt tribute to departing Daley

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has paid Daley Blind a great compliment after the Dutchman sealed a return to Ajax.

The versatile defender has rejoined the club he left to move to United four years ago, after helping the Reds win more silverware in his time in Manchester.

“I would like to say a big thank you to Daley Blind for everything he has done for the club since he joined in 2014,” the boss told ManUtd.com.

“I have to say, that in my 18 years of management, Daley is one of the most professional players, both on and off the pitch, that I have had the pleasure to work with.

“I would like to take this opportunity to wish him all the very best as he rejoins his boyhood club, Ajax, and thank him from the bottom of my heart for his commitment and dedication over the past two seasons.”

Blind, whose father Danny was a hugely successful player with Ajax and the Netherlands, made 141 appearances for the Reds and was excellent in the 2017 Europa League final victory over the club he has moved back to.

Blind, who has signed a four-year deal in the Dutch capital, said earlier: “To play for the biggest club in the world with such a history meant a lot to me. I had four great years with four trophies.”

The United prospects with a chance to shine on tour

Jose Mourinho named a group of Manchester United Academy players in the travelling squad for Tour 2018, presented by Aon.

As the young lads work with their more experienced colleagues in training, it is worth providing a few more details on them.

JOSHUA BOHUI

I spoke to Joshua on a flight to Belgrade last season and he told me he wanted to catch Jose Mourinho's eye, and he has managed to do that. He has done really well, getting into the Reserves, ploughing a lone furrow on his own up front, using his speed, and he was perhaps most impressive in the UEFA Youth League. He scored a couple of goals against Benfica, and the one in the last minute was a terrific solo effort. Joshua came from Brentford as a youngster and took a little bit of time to settle but, now that he has done, I expect him to show his speed and ability out in the States.

TAHITH CHONG

Chongy, as he is affectionately known, is a really good talent. He is an exceptional player with great speed and he is a good dribbler. He made the step up to the Reserves really well last season and won the Jimmy Murphy Youth-Team Player of the Year award, which was fully merited and deserved, even though most of his work was with the Under-23s and not the Under-18s. He is somebody who everybody is looking forward to seeing on the tour when the matches start.

ETHAN HAMILTON

Ethan is a dynamic midfielder who can run from box to box and has already played for Scotland at youth level. He knows Ricky Sbragia from his time in that Scottish set-up and I know Ricky likes the way he trains, putting in the maximum effort every day. He is a player who could surprise a few people, maybe like Scott McTominay did. He is coming on nicely, building his physique, and he can probably handle the men’s game now. He had a brief taste of the first team when he was on the bench at Huddersfield Town in the Emirates FA Cup, after Paul Pogba pulled out through illness in the morning, so he should take this step up in his stride.

ANGEL GOMES

Angel has been talked about as a top talent since he was in his early teens. He is only a little lad, but has managed to push on and made his first-team debut against Crystal Palace in May 2016, before enjoying an outing against Yeovil Town in the FA Cup the following season. Jose clearly rates him and he has a lot of talent. He had a lot of injuries last season and didn't play as much as he'd have liked. He came back for the Under-18s final against Chelsea but possibly wasn't quite match-fit. But now he is back and he'll be firing on all cylinders again, which we all look forward to seeing because he is such a clever player. Angel will look to link up with some senior players in the side, which is an exciting prospect.

RO-SHAUN WILLIAMS

The defender was on the first-team bench during Louis van Gaal’s time in charge, but he’s had some injury problems and admitted to me that last term was all about regaining full fitness, and getting back to the peak of his powers. Towards the end of the campaign, this appeared to be the case as he was particularly effective in the ICGT competition in the Netherlands, earning a place in the Team of the Tournament after United lifted the trophy. He’s quick and powerful, plus something of a leader at the back, and has all the raw attributes to go far. This place on the first-team tour is a real reward for his perseverance.

JAMES GARNER

James is a player I really like. He is a throwback, really, to the old-school midfielder who gets up and down the pitch. He can also play in defence, but is probably at his best when he plays in the middle and he has been getting tips from Michael Carrick on his passing, which has come on a lot in the past season. He’s even added goals to his game and, significantly, was captain for the England Under-17s when they did well in the European Championship at the end of the campaign, which meant he was absent for the Under-18s Premier League final against Chelsea. We missed him in the engine room. James has a great future here and he recently signed a new contract, in the boardroom at Old Trafford, which suggests how highly rated he is by the club.

MASON GREENWOOD

We don't like to shout too much about our young talents at United, especially when they are as young as Mason is, at 16 years old, but he is a player we are all excited about. He did really well last season by finishing as the top scorer for the Under-18s, despite playing against much older and more physical boys. He did really well in the Dallas Cup, which was good preparation for going to the United States with the first team this summer. He is a big talent, a big prospect, who is two-footed and knows where the goal is. He can play up front or as a no.10, and he already has international recognition with England. He didn't play at the Under-17 European Championship because of his school work, which shows you how young he is, but what an opportunity this is for him on tour.

The opinions expressed in this article are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Manchester United.

Credit: Manutd.com

Why Lindelof can shine for United next season

The World Cup ended with a host of headlines in honour of Paul Pogba, but the imperious midfielder was far from the only United player to excel in Russia…

Our sizeable Belgian and English contingent reached the semi-finals, while Marcos Rojo gifted the thirsty Argentinian public with the greatest moment of their campaign, by rifling home a late winner against Nigeria in a must-win group-stage clash.

However, flying stealthily under the radar was Victor Lindelof, who was an essential component of the industrious Swedish side that made the last eight, and established himself as one of the tournament’s best defenders in the process.

Our no.2 endured a testing first term in M16, but the assuredness and steel he displayed on world football’s biggest stage this summer bodes well for his sophomore season. And Victor wouldn’t be the first Red to return from the World Cup with a renewed sense of conviction in his own abilities.

Could Lindelof use FIFA’s showpiece competition as a springboard to help establish himself at the heart of United’s defence?

The man known as ‘the Ice Man’ during his time at Benfica – presumably due to his cool demeanour, or the fact he hails from the chilly climes of Vasteras in central Sweden – turns 24 today (Tuesday).

Lindelof missed the 1-0 victory over South Korea that opened Sweden’s campaign due to illness, but was a towering presence alongside former Wigan Athletic centre-back Andreas Granqvist for their subsequent four matches. Against Switzerland in the last 16, BBC Sport viewers voted him as the Man of the Match.

“Victor has been the pick of the bunch,” remarked Lindelof’s compatriot and ex-United midfielder Bojan Djordjic. “People speak about our captain, Granqvist, because he’s been like a cult hero after Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] and all that, but Victor has been amazing.”

The relationship with 33-year-old Granqvist is not a new development. The two were also at the heart of Sweden’s surprise victory over Italy in the two-legged play-off last November that ultimately earned them a place at the finals in Russia.

At Benfica, Lindelof shone alongside another relative veteran, 37-year-old Brazilian stalwart Luisao, whom Jose Mourinho has long admired.

Both partnerships enjoyed the kind of consistency that United have been unable to regularly find at the back, largely due to injury issues. However, the hope is that in the 2018/19 season, Lindelof can find a similar rapport with one of his club colleagues and solidify a clear first-choice partnership.

Victor showed strong signs of his fierce personal determination last season, responding to a difficult afternoon at Huddersfield Town in October with strong performances against Brighton & Hove Albion and Watford the following month.

A crunching tackle on Anthony Knockaert in the former game had the Old Trafford crowd on their feet, roaring with approval, and was vital in creating the momentum that led to United’s opening goal, which proved decisive in the 1-0 victory, soon after.

During the 4-2 win at Watford three days later, he unfurled more of the cultured side to his game, starting several of United’s exhilarating counter-attacks by threading precise passes through to the midfielders and attackers.

“His technique, left and right foot, is great,” purred Jesse Lingard, when we spoke to him in December 2017. “He plays the ball forward and will always look for that forward pass, which is obviously good for us attackers.”

Other impressive matches followed, against Chelsea and Arsenal in the second half of the season, indicating that the Swede was adjusting nicely to the distinctive challenges sometimes posed by top-flight English football, after predominantly featuring in the Champions League during the season’s early stages.

Now a second term at Old Trafford beckons and, after a well-earned break, the hope is that Lindelof can deliver the form he produced at the World Cup on a weekly basis for United.

The tournament acted as a spur for David Beckham to produce his very best, after a turbulent France ’98, while Cristiano Ronaldo seemed to make his final leap to greatness after soaring at the 2006 edition in Germany.

Can Victor do the same? We’re about to find out.

The opinions in this story are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Manchester United Football Club.

Credit: Manutd.com

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

MUTV launches on Connected TV platforms

Manchester United has announced the expansion of the club's official, award-winning network MUTV by confirming its availability on four new platforms: Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Xbox and, soon, Roku.

This continued expansion provides MUTV access to a new demographic of the club’s fanbase in the United States and selected countries across Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa.

Recent figures show that connected TV usage is highest among millennials (18 to 34-year-olds), representing a growing trend of younger audiences accessing programming on over-the-top platforms in place of traditional linear television.

Following the successful direct to consumer launch of MUTV on iOS, Android and MUTV.com last season, and building on the global success of its linear distribution and availability in over 35 million homes, these additional platforms provide the club's 659 million followers with the ability to watch MUTV from the comfort of their living room, without a cable subscription.

Existing subscribers to the MUTV app and web platforms can access these new platforms for free via a universal login feature, which allows the same credentials to be used across several devices. You can also search MUTV on your favourite app store.

The expansion of MUTV coincides with the introduction of a wide range of new on-demand categories. This includes matchday programming and highlights, a library of full classic matches, MUFC Original films, celebrity features and much more, with a selection of this content available for free. This free section will allow both subscribers and non-subscribers to stream videos and engage with the club. The network has also introduced a choice of subscription passes, including a new discounted annual pass.

Fans with a subscription will gain full access to exclusive club content, including:
•Live coverage and broadcasts of every Tour 2018 game, including fixtures against AC Milan, Liverpool and Real Madrid.
•Live commentary of every United match in the Premier League, Champions League and domestic cup competitions.
•Pre and post-match analysis of each game by United legends and exclusive interviews with Jose Mourinho and the players.
•Award-winning films, documentaries and original programming.
•Live coverage of The Manager’s Press Conferences.
•Live broadcasts of over 50 live Reserve and Academy fixtures every season.
•Exclusive access and features with the new Manchester United Women’s Team.
•Full replays of classic United matches.
•An extensive catalogue of on-demand categories, including The Match In 20, Inside United, Top Tens, Celebrities, Table Football and more.

Manchester United’s CEO of Media, Phil Lynch, commented: “The continued expansion of MUTV and the launch on these platforms expands our reach, opens up new audiences, and provides millions of fans access to our award-winning on-demand and linear programming, without having to leave their set-top box environment.”

For more information on how to subscribe, visit MUTV.com.

Grant: Getting to United has been a fantastic journey

Lee Grant may have been signed in a supportive role to Manchester United's men between the sticks, but the goalkeeper insists he is determined to play a vital role in the Reds' charge for honours this season.

The 35-year-old spoke exclusively to MUTV before his first training session of Tour 2018, presented by Aon, and discussed the warm welcome he has been afforded by Jose Mourinho and his squad and how he is always willing to learn...

If we’d have told you a year ago you’d be on Manchester United’s pre-season tour this summer, what would you have said?
I probably would have doubted your sanity somewhat! [Smiles] It’s been a fantastic journey to get me here and I’m certainly looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to a nice pre-season, we’ve got our first training session at UCLA so it should be fun.

When you got the call to join United – how did you feel?
Excited, obviously, and then anxious to get everything over the line and eager to get started. That’s been the case throughout the off-season – I was really eager to get here and get started.

We remember you single-handedly keeping out Zlatan Ibrahimovic when you were playing at Old Trafford for Stoke – do you think that was a factor in this deal?
Maybe so! I think it was more likely my performances over the course of the season and my consistency levels but certainly I would imagine that performance caught the eye of one or two at the football club.

You’ve been playing with one of our former greats at Stoke City, in Darren Fletcher. Have you spoken to him about joining United?
I have, yes, Fletch has been great. I managed to grab some lunch with him a week or so before I joined up with the boys and he gave me a little rundown on the club, who to avoid speaking to and who to cosy up to! [Laughs] In all seriousness he’s been great, he told me what a fantastic football club it is and he was certain I was going to enjoy my time here.

What are your first impressions of the group and the people you’ve met so far?
We’ve got a young group at the moment as we’re missing a few guys and missing some of the senior players following their exploits over the summer [at the World Cup]. I’m looking forward to having those guys back but so far the group has been wonderful and has welcomed me in nicely. I’m looking forward to getting started and working with them.

There are one or two top goalkeepers at United already. Are you looking forward to trying to dislodge them?!
Yeah, most definitely! To work with one of the best to have ever played in the Premier League in David De Gea and then have Argentina’s number one in Sergio [Romero], it’s not a bad combination. I’ve had the privilege of working with Joel [Pereira] for a couple of weeks and what an excellent keeper he looks. So for me, yes, it’s a mammoth task ahead to try to dislodge one of those guys, but in all seriousness I’m really looking forward to learning off them and working with them. And I know from having spoken to a lot of people that they’re all good guys.

The aim of your time here is presumably to play?
Yes, definitely. It doesn’t matter how old you are, or where you’ve come from or what you’ve done in the past, if you’ve got a real professional desire like I have to go and play then that’s something you want to continue to do. I’ll continue to be like that well into my 40s and I’m sure when my career has finished, it’s always something that has driven me on. Listen, I want to play and be involved as much as I can in the team but I’m also aware that my role primarily may have to be one to support [the others]. But I’m willing to fill in as and when, and it will be good to get started.

You’ve had a long and successful career but you never stop learning do you?
That’s probably the reason why I’m here. I’d say I’m a player that has always been happy to learn; I’m an open book. I did it in my two years at Stoke and I went there when people probably thought, 'he’s 33 and coming to the end and maybe winding down.' But for me that wasn’t the case, I was there to try to get better and to improve and I showed I was capable of playing at the highest level. And I’ll look to adapt and do the same thing here.

Sanchez unable to travel to USA with Manchester United due to visa issues

Alexis Sanchez was unable to travel to the United States with the Manchester United squad on Sunday due to a visa issue, Sky Sports News understands.

The Chilean striker accepted a 16-month suspended jail sentence in Spain earlier this year for tax fraud.

Manchester United are thought to be hoping that Sanchez will be granted a waiver to enter the country which would allow him to join the squad in the coming days.

The Chilean striker was missing when Jose Mourinho and the rest of the United squad flew out from Manchester Airport to Los Angeles on Sunday.

United face Club America in Phoenix, Arizona, on Thursday in their opening pre-season fixture, and will play five matches, including games against Liverpool, European champions Real Madrid and Italian side AC Milan.

Credit: Skysports.com

Manchester United unveil home kit for 2018-19 season

Manchester United have launched their new home kit for the 2018-19 campaign.

The traditional red shirt features black detailing resembling a train track, accompanied by black shorts and red and black socks.

A statement released by the Old Trafford club read: "The latest jersey marks 140 years since the club was founded, with a train track graphic referencing United's original name; Newton Heath (Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway) Cricket and Football Club.

"The team was originally formed in 1878 by the Carriage and Waggon department of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway depot at Newton Heath and initially played games against other departments and rail companies at their home ground at North Road, Manchester.

"In 1892, the club entered the English First Division - the highest league in the country at the time, before changing its name to the now world-renowned Manchester United in 1902, and moving to the iconic stadium of Old Trafford in 1910."

Richard Arnold, group managing director at United, added: "There are many great moments in this club's fantastic history, and none more so important than the year the club was founded, back in 1878.

"This shirt from adidas pays homage to the year we were founded, and marks 140 years of footballing success."

United will sport their kit during their pre-season tour of the United States, which gets underway on July 20 with a friendly against Club America.

Blind rejoins Ajax from Manchester United

Ajax have re-signed Daley Blind from Manchester United for a fee which could rise to £18.1m.

The 28-year-old returns to his boyhood club on a four-year deal after four seasons with United.

Blind confirmed the transfer in a statement on Tuesday, which read: "First of all I want to say how proud I am to be a part of the Manchester United family.

"To play for the biggest club in the world with such a history meant a lot to me. I had four great years with four trophies.

"I want to thank everyone, the managers, coaches, the medical department, everyone who helped me to settle in so quick at the beginning, of course my teammates and last but definitely not least the fans.

"I want to thank you for all the love and support I received and still get. I will never forget some of the special games and moments, I will miss you 'The Theatre of Dreams'! But now it's time to go home."

Blind made 90 Premier League appearances during his time at Old Trafford and was part of the squad that won the Europa League final against Ajax in 2017.

However, the Netherlands international was limited to only seven Premier League appearances last season as he fell down the pecking order under Jose Mourinho.

United thanked Blind for his service in a statement on the club's website.

"It goes without question that everyone at the club wishes him well for the future," it read.

Credit: Skysports.com

Monday, July 16, 2018

Burt: Mourinho can learn lessons on Paul Pogba from Didier Deschamps

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho can learn lessons on how to get the best out of Paul Pogba from France coach Didier Deschamps, says Jason Burt.

The midfielder was key for France as they won the World Cup for a second time on Sunday, scoring in the 59th minute as Les Bleus cruised to a 4-2 victory in Moscow.

Pogba had been impressive under the tutelage of Deschamps in Russia, and World Cup Supplement panellist Burt says his club manager Mourinho could learn how best to use him following France's success.

"I'm sure Mourinho will say to him 'look at the role you play for France, and play that disciplined role I've asked you to play'. He doesn't always play like that for Man Utd," the Daily Telegraph's chief football correspondent told the World Cup Supplement podcast.

"But then he can probably turn around and say to Mourinho, 'you don't play the same sort of system or give me the same opportunities'.

"There needs to be more of a meeting of minds between those two because Deschamps has clearly got into Pogba's head and said 'this is what I need you to do and if you do, we can win the World Cup' and he's gone and done it. Mourinho needs to have a similar sort of conversation with him.

"You see his performance and you think 'yes, that's what he can do. That is the player he is'. It's what you want to see more of all the time, and you don't see enough of it at Man Utd.

"What's been interesting at this tournament is how much he has played a more disciplined role and in that team, he has done as he's been told by Deschamps. He has played a more defensive role at times and he is a brilliant player."

Credit: Skysports.com

Bound for the USA! United's tour squad heads to LA

Manchester United's Tour 2018, presented by Aon, is officially under way after the squad flew out to the United States on Sunday evening.

The travelling party boarded the long flight to Los Angeles where training will be stepped up ahead of the 2018/19 Premier League season, which starts in less than a month’s time when United host Leicester City at Old Trafford on Friday 10 August.

Among the players pictured prior to take-off were Matteo Darmian, Ander Herrera, Joel Pereira and Andreas Pereira, as well as exciting youngsters Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong, who will be hoping to make an impact during the five-match trip to the US.

Chris Smalling also tweeted a picture of himself and fellow defender Luke Shaw after boarding the plane...

The Reds' fixtures on American soil will include three International Champions Cup matches against Real Madrid, AC Milan and arch-rivals Liverpool.

One notable absentee from the travelling party was, understandably, Paul Pogba who spent Sunday evening in Moscow, Russia after helping France win the World Cup. The United midfielder scored his national team's third goal as they beat Croatia 4-2 in the final at the Luzhniki Stadium - the venue where the Reds won the Champions League in 2008.

MONDAY MORNING UPDATE

ManUtd.com's Gemma Thompson has arrived in Los Angeles...

We're Stateside! Jose Mourinho, his players and the other staff in our tour party have touched down on the West Coast of the United States. Everyone seemed to enjoy the very smooth 10-hour flight as our two-and-a-half week trip begins.

Ahead of us, there will be some vital work on the training pitch for the squad as well as five friendly matches, all of which you can watch on MUTV.

Getting settled into the team hotel is next on the agenda though - it’s late on Sunday night, LA time, as I write this. So as my colleagues wake up in the UK, it's goodnight from me in the USA.

Credit: Manutd.com

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Ajax agree initial £14.1m fee to sign Daley Blind

Ajax have agreed a fee with Manchester United to sign Daley Blind, according to Sky sources.

Sky Sports News understands the two clubs have agreed an initial fee of £14.1m which could rise to £18.5m with performance-based add-ons.

Ajax manager Erik ten Hag has recently admitted his interest in bringing Netherlands defender Blind back to the club this summer.

The 28-year-old is going into the final season of the five-year contract he signed when joining United from Ajax in 2014.

Blind has made 90 Premier League appearances in four years at Old Trafford but was limited to just seven last season as he fell down the pecking order under Jose Mourinho.

Ajax are ready to offer Blind a fresh start at the Johan Cruyff Arena.

"[He is] a player with a lot of experience, in the Premier League and in the Dutch national team," Ten Hag said of Blind.

"He is a stable personality. Just like the arrival of Dusan Tadic, this also counts as a considerable effort of the club. We are doing everything, but it also depends on other parties."

Credit: Skysports.com