Smith confirmed on United's tour of Asia
Alan Smith has been handed a place in Manchester United's Far East tour squad as speculation over his Red Devils career rumbles on.
The former Leeds star has supposedly been seeking assurances over his future after failing to land a new contract offer from Sir Alex Ferguson.
Reports of a £6million bid from Middlesbrough being accepted for Smith have done little to quell the rumours surrounding his long-term future and with United attempting to push through a deal for Carlos Tevez this week, the England international's time at Old Trafford does appear limited.
But, with Louis Saha and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer injured and Giuseppe Rossi missing out due to his European Under-21 Championship commitments with Italy this summer, Smith found himself alongside Wayne Rooney as one of only two front-line strikers in Ferguson's squad.
Also missing were skipper Gary Neville, Park Ji-sung and Ben Foster through injury, Gerard Pique, whose season with Real Zaragoza in Spain ran until the end of June, Dong Fangzhou, currently on Asia Cup duty with China, plus Anderson and Gabriel Heinze, who were hoping for Copa America glory with Brazil and Argentina respectively.
Heinze is currently in demand by Liverpool but United have steadfastly refused to entertain a deal with their north-west rivals, even though Rafael Benitez has met the £6.8million asking price.
Kieran Richardson was another absentee after also featuring in the Under-21 Championships, although with a move to Sunderland pending, he was not expected to be involved anyway.
The raft of losses allowed Ferguson to draft in some of his young stars, namely Northern Ireland defender Jonny Evans, who made such an impression in Sunderland's surge to promotion.
Darron Gibson, Danny Simpson and Chris Eagles were also involved, as was Phil Bardsley, who spent last term at Rangers and Aston Villa.
After playing through a minor earthquake on their last visit to Tokyo two years ago and having a Vodafone Cup game against Urawa Red Diamonds called off in 1994 due to a freak electrical storm around Old Trafford, Sir Alex Ferguson's men set off to news of a typhoon 'Man-Yi' hitting the capital city.
Five people were killed and 40,000 evacuated as the storm hit, with 650 flights cancelled as well. Thankfully though, the worst of the storm, which had been expected to hit Tokyo full on, passed by without causing the damage many had feared.
The news would have come as a relief to Ferguson, who views the four-match tour as a vital part of his side's build-up to the defence of their Premier League title, with new arrivals Owen Hargreaves and Nani offered their first taste of life with United.
Not only will Red Devils supporters get their first glimpse of the duo, most of their team-mates are looking forward to seeing them in action as well.
'All the players here are the same, we want to see them play,' Rio Ferdinand told MUTV.
'Obviously we know more about Owen than Nani but we are keen to see what they can do.'