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United’s pre-season tour to the States – a chance for a footballing holiday in America

The Reds players have been taking a well deserved break following the club’s 19th top flight title success, with the likes of Wayne Rooney splurging travel money in Barbados, however pre-season and the 2011/12 season are coming into focus. The club have announced that a three week tour of the United States will be a big factor in raising popularity for the club, but more importantly starting the players’ routine of building match fitness ahead of the first day of the season on 13th August away to West Brom.

The US tour starts on 13th July, with Sir Alex’s side playing against three MLS sides, an All-Stars select team and Barcelona in a re-run of the Champions League final. With the MLS season in full flow the opposition will be more match ready than the visitors, and will hopefully offer United a tough test in order to get the side back into the swing of things. A large squad will travel, and a number of fringe players should get a chance to shine and potentially stake their claim for a place in the manager’s plans for the season ahead. For you keen Reds fans with no definite holiday plans, United’s trip to the States give you the opportunity to get travel insurance and link football with a break, as following the team would allow for visits to Boston, Seattle, Chicago, New Jersey and Washington DC.

The side start with a game on the 13th against the New England Revolution at the Gillette Stadium, Boston, who are coached by ex-Liverpool player Steve Nicol. Boston is an expensive place to visit, and has one of the highest costs of living in the States, but has a plethora of things to see including a sports Trail tour, taking in the city’s sporting heritage.

The second game on tour sees the side taking on the Seattle Sounders a week later at CenturyLink Field. Seattle has a vibrant and notorious music scene, accompanied by the impressive Space Needle, making it a city with style and an excellent holidaying destination.

The fixtures start to come thick and fast as the Chicago Fire are the opponents on the 23 July, with the game being played at Toyota Park. The Midwestern city has a passion for all things sports, and is home to the Bulls basketball team and two Major League Baseball sides.

United take on the MLS All-Stars on 27th July, with the game to be played in New Jersey. The venue gives followers a glorious chance to travel into bordering New York City, with the many attractions of the Big Apple known to us all. The Maddison Square Garden is a must for any true sports fan.

The tour culminates with a clash against the European champions on 30th July, with the Reds looking for revenge in a fixture in the American capital Washington DC. The city offers a side range of things to see and do, with the Smithsonian Museum, national monuments and houses of government spectacular and interesting.

The Tour 2011 squad is provisional, subject to change in the event of training injuries:

Goalkeepers: Anders Lindegaard, Ben Amos, Sam Johnstone
Defenders: Rafael, Fabio, Nemanja Vidic, Jonny Evans, Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand
Midfielders: Michael Carrick, Nani, Anderson, Ryan Giggs, Ji-sung Park, Gabriel Obertan
Forwards: Mame Biram Diouf, Federico Macheda, Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen, Dimitar Berbatov, Ashley Young.

The following players will join the tour after their agreed leave time: Chris Smalling, Danny Welbeck, Tom Cleverley, David de Gea, Phil Jones, Javier Hernandez.

Gareth McKnight writes for