A bright and early start at 7:30am, and first stop our hotel breakfast at the hotel to energize before heading to the practice facilities.
Today’s session was a scrimmage session, using small sided games in the ‘football cage’, with the coaches taking part and splitting up on to the 2 teams. A fun session to give everyone a kick of energy to help overcome the jetlag. For preseason purposes the games were timed to 4 rounds of 20 minutes with a 5 minute break in between, to cover a total playing duration of 80 minutes as we build towards the first game of the season. The games were high intensity, technical, and very strategical in both possession and recovery of the ball. Everyone was exhausted after the practice, and once we got back to the hotel everyone went to their rooms to take a shower before eating lunch at the hotel.
Today was one of the highlights of the trip, as we headed to Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United, the ‘Theater of Dreams’. First on the agenda was the museum, so much rich history from its beginnings as Newton Heath, and having so many incredible players pull on the Manchester United jersey during it’s incredible history. The trophy cabinet was 3 completely full rooms of trophies and cups (maybe they could let Arsenal borrow a couple for their museum!). Although an incredibly decorated history of success, we learned about the humbling history of the Munich Air Disaster, where many Manchester United players and staff lost their lives following a European Cup game.
After exploring the museum we had a lecture about health and what you have to do to become a pro player. There was a huge emphasis on education and the importance of being a good player, and the belief that to be a good player you also need to be a good human being. We learned diet and sleep are so important, and it takes real dedication to be the best. The team was then incredibly excited for what was a huge surprise, as we were given the chance to wear some of the worlds greatest players jersey’s, the actual jersey they wore.
The day kept going, now moving on to the tour. The tour guide taught us a lot about the history of the stadium, including the bombings during World War 2. After the tour ended we spent a good hour in the club shop, and the majority of the team bought some new Manchester United merchandise, new fans for many years to come. Then we had dinner at a local restaurant called Hotel Football, a place next to Old Trafford, owned by the Class of 92. To bring an end to our evening, we fittingly watched Manchester United play out a 1-1 draw with Wolves.