In just a few hours, Manchester United will take on the A-League All-Stars in Sydney, Australia for the second friendly of their 2013 pre-season tour. Following their 0-1 defeat by the Singha All-Stars last weekend in Bangkok, Thailand, the Reds have spent most of the week training training in Australia and taking in the sights. Hopefully the players are enjoying themselves, but perhaps not quite to the extent that Dwight Yorke did during the 1999 tour. It's little wonder as to why the striker signed for Sydney FC in 2005...
The A-League All-Stars, unfortunately, will not have Juventus legend Alessandro Del Pierro available for this match but they will have recognizable faces in former Red Liam Miller and former Blackburn Rovers midfielder Brett Emerton. The latter will be captaining the side. Former England international Emile Heskey is also unavailable for the hosts.
Much as he did in Bangkok, manager David Moyes will have a relatively small squad for this match. The likes of captain Nemanja Vidic, Wayne Rooney, Nani, Ashley Young, and Chris Smalling all aren't with the club on tour due to injury and Alexander Buttner might not be available as well due to a knock that he picked up in Bangkok. All of Javier Hernandez (Chicharito), Antonio Valencia, Guillermo Varela, Angelo Henriquez, Larnell Cole, and Shinji Kagawa aren't currently with the squad either due to them being given additional rest after recent international duty. The latter, though, will be joining up with the squad in a few days when the club travels to Japan for the next part of their pre-season tour.
So, who is available for this friendly? Here's a list of players who will be present for the friendly:
* Goalkeepers: David de Gea, Anders Lindegaard, Ben Amos
* Defenders: Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans, Phil Jones, Michael Keane, Rafael, Fabio, Alexander Buttner, Patrice Evra
* Midfielders: Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Anderson, Ryan Giggs, Wilfried Zaha, Jesse Lingard, Adnan Januzaj
* Forwards: Danny Welbeck, Robin van Persie
De Gea, along with RvP, just joined the squad in Australia and it's uncertain how much either will be involved. Moyes has already indicated that if the striker features, it'll be in the second-half since the main emphasis this past week was rigorous fitness training for him. Expect Welbeck to start up front again. Amos went the full 90 minutes in Bangkok so it's possible that Lindegaard gets some minutes in this match. It wouldn't be surprising to see two of the three goalkeepers get a half. De Gea could possibly feature more prominently in Japan after having a bit more time to acclimate himself on this tour.
Moyes has also indicated that Jones will start, however, that could be in one of many positions: center-back, right-back, or in central-midfield. Since this is a friendly, it's uncertain which other players might feature and if they do, we don't know how much they'll play either. This friendly against the A-League All-Stars is the first of three during an upcoming seven-day span so the gaffer will have some juggling to do this week with his limited squad.
The two players that arguably shined the most in Bangkok were the youngsters Januzaj* and Zaha so they are obvious candidates on whom many of us would like to see most. Seeing Lingard and Keane get an extended run in this game would be fun to watch as well. Which players do you look most forward to watching?
KO: 10:30am BST, 7:30pm local time (Sydney), 5:30am EST
Venue: ANZ Stadium
TV: MUTV (U.K.), FOX Soccer (U.S.)