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Manchester United's American tour: 5 things we spotted as Jose Mourinho put his men through their paces


The World Cup already seems a long time ago, and the pre-season friendlies are coming up thick and fast.

Just ask Manchester United’s players, who are in Los Angeles preparing for their first game of the summer against Club America on Thursday.

But there didn’t seem to be any grumbles as Jose Mourinho was putting his players through their paces at UCLA on Tuesday, as a depleted United squad prepared for their first action of the summer.

The Portuguese and his players appeared to be in fine spirits during the session, but just what was going on?

Jose and a pair of Pereiras

That nice Juan Mata strikes a pose

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Well, we spotted these five things.

1. Tahith Chong was a hair-raising presence

Coming to a first-team near you?

One of the most striking things about this United tour is just who isn’t there, with various World Cup stars all missing out and Alexis Sanchez absent due to Visa issues.

You can’t miss Tahith Chong though, and with the 18-year-old potentially needed to be added to the squad in United’s opening game of the season against Leicester , he was stepping up his preparation here.

2. Anthony Martial was putting a brave face on it

We’re not buying it Anthony

“No honestly, I’m fine. Just fine. Yeah I’m over it. Totally over it.

“I didn’t even watch the final to be honest, I was busy. Stuff to do. I had to clear the garage, wash some dishes and pack up some stuff to come here.

“I’m happy for them though. Really happy. For all of them.

“I mean… it’s true that Giroud didn’t have a shot on target all tournament but does that mean I should have been there instead of him? Not for me to say.

“Lemar, Dembele, Fekir, Thauvin. None of them were exactly great were they? No. But yeah.

“Over it mate.”

3. A new number for Sergio Romero?

Lee Grant’s new competition

Sergio Romero cruelly missed out on the World Cup with Argentina due to injury – an injury which inflicted Willy Caballero on the South Americans – but he’s in LA looking to get back to full fitness for the start of the campaign.

And judging by his t-shirt he might have a new number for the new season.

Romero has worn No.20 throughout his time at United, but January’s departure of Henrikh Mkhitaryan has left the No.22 free, and judging by this Romero might just like to take it.

4. Luke Shaw shows some LA fitness

“Which way to Malibu beach?”

After “surprising” Jose Mourinho and his staff with his level of fitness , Luke Shaw looked to be primed and ready for pre-season action in LA.

The left-back has had his critics – and one of them has been his manager – but you have to admire the way he’s knuckling down and getting into shape before the new campaign.

Indeed, given the blond hair and the muscles he looks ready to hit the LA beaches.

5. Old man Valencia takes a break

“I’ll leave the running to the young people”

It seems hard to believe, but we are just about to enter Antonio Valencia’s 10th season as a Manchester United player.

The Ecuadorian – who signed from Wigan for a bargain £16m in the summer of 2009 – will be eligible for a United testimonial at the end of the campaign, and having reinvented himself as a right-back in recent seasons he now seems more important to United than ever.

He earned a break here though, sitting down alongside Eric Bailly and taking in the scenery.

He’s been there done all this before.



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