The United States has become quite the popular place for Barclays Premier League teams to come and conduct part of their preseason. This year, teams such as Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, West Bromwich Albion, Crystal Palace, Swansea City, Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa, and Arsenal are all spending time in the US. There are a number of reasons as to why this is, including building their brand, make coming to the United States a sensible decision.
Denver is hosting Manchester United and AS Roma in an opening round game of the Guinness International Champions Cup on Saturday, July 26 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High and in preparation for that, I had a chance to ask Tom Cleverley of Manchester United a few quick questions about their tour, Major League Soccer, and what to expect from Manchester United in 2014-2015.
Burgundy Wave: Thanks so much Tom for joining Burgundy Wave today.
Tom Cleverley: My pleasure.
BW: Major League Soccer has experience some pretty significant growth since 2009. Since that times, three teams have come into the league and two more are scheduled to start in 2015. The leagues is attracting talent from a variety of places, including Europe and South American and we have seen some Barclays Premier League players coming over to the USA to play in MLS and some former MLS players return. I am curious as to what your impressions are of Major League Soccer and how it is perceived in England.
TC: Yeah, it is more talked about every season. The US team obviously did well at the World Cup and probably were a little bit unlucky and they had some star performances and I am sure it is getting bigger over on your side as well. And it (MLS) is definitely on the rise.
BW: Manchester United is making its first trip to the United States since 2011 to take part in the Guinness International Champions Cup. The United States has seen other Premier League clubs make the trip over to train here (including Swansea City which played a friendly with Colorado Rapids in 2012). What are the benefits of coming to the United States for pre-season training as opposed to staying in Manchester or going to other parts of the world?
TC: Well especially this year it is good to get away together for two to three weeks when we've got a new manager and new staff and new signings to welcome so it is good that we're all together as a team. And especially the game in Denver; the altitude, the heat. It gets us more fitter and gets us ready for the tough season ahead and so I definitely think it is a good stage of the season to get away as a team to hot countries and play against some good opposition.
BW: The 2013-2014 season was a challenging one for Manchester United. From managerial changes to changes in style of play, it is safe to say that things did not go quite as planned. What does United need to do to get back into the top four in the Premier League and ultimately win another title?
TC: Oh, yeah, we are gonna work hard on fixing wrongs in preseason starting with the US tour and we got some exciting new signings. We've got a great new manager and hopefully we will get our confidence back and starting winning games and start winning titles which is what the club is all about. The players are all working very hard and are confident that we can turn it around this year and be back better than ever.