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Dec 10, 2012

Manchester United to play in Australia

Manchester United will travel to Sydney next July to face an A-League All Stars side as part of their 2013 pre-season tour.

• Brooks: United they stand

Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie are set to feature in the match, with United's full squad making the trip.

Midfielder Ryan Giggs was part of the squad that defeated the Socceroos in United's 1999 trip to Australia and while he is no certainty of taking on the All Stars, he expects it to be a positive experience for the players and their fans.

"It'll be great. I was fortunate to go on tour there before and I have fond memories of the trip and the fans were great," Giggs told Fox Sports Australia. "It was my first visit to Australia so that was a thrill for me and I know all the team enjoyed it and I've been telling the lads how much fun they'll have next year.

"The main thing about pre-season is working on your fitness. I'm sure there will be some big names in the All Stars team and we'll be prepared for that. Hopefully it'll be an entertaining game and there will be a lot of quality on show."

The A-League XI will be selected by Australian fans, although marquee players Alessandro Del Piero, Emile Heskey and Shinji Ono are likely to play a part and Giggs insists the international calendar will allow United to field a strong side.

"The manager always tries to take as strong a squad as he can on tour," Giggs said. "It's sometimes difficult if there is a World Cup or the European Championships happening during that summer ebcause players will get time off afterwards depending on how far they progress in the tournament.

"But there isn't a big tournament next year so I expect all the big players to be there, including the likes of Robin and Wayne which I'm sure will be a great thrill for the fans.

"Obviously we've seen players from the Premier League go over there like Robbie Fowler, Emile Heskey and, of course, the one that everyone knows about - Alessandro Del Piero, who I've had the pleasure of playing against on a numer of occasions and he is one of my favourite all-time players. To see him go over there and make the impact he has is great."

United will spend six days in Sydney and the club's Chief Executive David Gill says the decision was made to give Australian fans the opportunity to watch the Red Devils for the first time in more than 13 years.

"The game and training camp that will take place in Sydney will be an important part of the team's preparation for the 2013/14 season," Gill said. "There are three main reasons we go on pre-season tour. First and foremost is the team's preparation for the season ahead.

"But the tour also allows us to engage with our global fan base and network of commercial partners. It has been a while since we last visited Sydney and we are looking forward to renewing our relationship with our loyal and enthusiastic Australian fans."

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