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Reds to kick off “Tour 2013”

Manchester United’s annual pre-season tour this year takes the team to Asia and Australia to face an all-star cast of opponents in what the Reds see as an important early test.

Manchester United heads overseas again this summer in July for their annual pre-season tour – the Tour 2013, presented by Aon. As United’s Official Logistics Partner, DHL will be there for the team every step of the way.

To keep up with all the action as they travel, check out the Tour 2013 websiteExternal Link / New Window

Six friendly games await the boys from Old Trafford, beginning with the kick-off match on July 13 at sold-out Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok against the Singha All Star XI. This first test of the post-Sir-Alex era will be against a team of select top players from the Thai Premier League. No doubt the world will be watching!

Tour 2013 Schedule:
13 Julyvs Singha All Star XI at Rajamangala Stadium in Bongkok, Thailand
20 Julyvs A-League All Stars at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Australia
23 Julyvs Yokohama F-Marinos at Nisson Stadium in Yokohama, Japan
26 Julyvs Cerezo Osaka at Osaka Nagai Stadium in Osaka, Japan
29 Julyvs Kitchee FC at Hong Kong Stadium in Hong Kong, China 
06 Augustvs VS AIK Fotboll at Friends Stadium in Stockholm, Sweden
The Reds are “raring to go,” says Michael Carrick, one of the team’s most effective midfielders. “[The pre-season is] a vital part of the year – it’s important to get through pre-season and steer clear of injuries and be ready for the games at the start of the campaign. So I'm already looking forward to jetting off.”

French defender Patrice Evra shares his teammates enthusiasm and is especially looking forward to all the fans in each country. He says it’s like “being a rock star.”

Fans vote
From Bangkok the team moves south for one stop in the land down under – a much-anticipated match against an A-League All Star team led by legendary Alessandro Del Piero, who made his career at Juventus and now plays for Sydney FC. The line-up includes Japanese midfielder, Shinji Ono, whose tenure has included stints in the German Bundesliga and the Dutch Eredivisie, not to mention some 56 appearances with the Japanese national team between 1998-2008.

Over 30,000 fans took part in the vote to select which players would take the pitch for the A-League All Stars.

Strong clubs
The matches that follow in Japan, Hong Kong and recently added Stockholm will be against a number of very strong local clubs.

In Japan on July 23, the Reds face Yokohama at Nissan Stadium – a team with a successful history dating back to 1972 that includes three J.League titles since Japan’s top league was introduced in 1993.

Three days later United will face their own Shinji Kagawa's former side in Cerezo Osaka. Though not the powerhouse of Yokohama, Cerezo Osaka reached third in the J.League in 2010 and has produced some outstanding talent in recent years, including Hiroshi Kiyote, who plays for Nurnberg in Germany, in addition to United’s Kagawa.

In the final match of their Asian tour, the Reds will kick off against Kitchee FC at Hong Kong Stadium, Hong Kong – a club that dates back to 1931. This highly successful team took second place this year in the Hong Kong League after winning the two previous years. They also hoisted the HK FA Cup and are currently on their way to the quarterfinals of the 2013 AFC Cup set for September.

Sweden added
What better way to end a tour of friendly matches than at Friends Stadium in Stockholm? United wraps up its pre-season schedule there against VS AIK Fotboll on August 6.

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