‘States trip will make us United’: Manchester United’s Darren Fletcher eager for US return a decade on

Darren Fletcher shed light on how Manchester United are going to welcome new boys Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw with memories of his first pre-season trip.

Fletcher’s initial taste of pre-season first-team action came in 2003’s trip to the United States, when United visited Seattle, Los Angeles and New Jersey.

And with United set to hop across the pond once again this summer, the Scot insists this is the perfect time to introduce the likes of wonderkid Shaw, 18, to Old Trafford life.

“It helps the youngsters to become more confident around the first-team squad which in turn helps them on the training pitch,” said Fletcher, 30.

“You notice the transition when they realize that they are just like everyone else and that is highlighted by improved performances on the pitch.”

After limping to a seventh-placed finish in the Barclays Premier League last season, better displays are the doctor’s orders under new boss Louis van Gaal.

And Fletcher, more than most, knows how important is to make the most of this time, having missed recent summer trips due to the chronic bowel problem that left his career in the balance.

The midfielder insists he ‘can’t wait’ to make a return this month for the 2014 edition when the Red Devils take on Major League Soccer side LA Galaxy.

They also face European giants on AS Roma, Inter Milan and Real Madrid in the States-wide tour.

As well as the four fixtures, the Scotland international recalls the traditions surrounding the American trips – and, in particular, the speech he had to deliver to the squad a decade ago.

“It was a good experience, but a little bit daunting as well because I had to prepare my [initiation] speech,” he recalls.

“Giggsy (Ryan Giggs) and Butty (Nicky Butt) made sure they reminded me that I had an important speech coming up and that’s something that’s always in the back of your mind whilst you’re trying to impress in training – you know you’ve got to have your speech ready!

“The speech itself was just a blur. I recall trying to get on the good side of Roy Keane by giving him a few complimentary comments and I hoped that would help me along my way!”

Main image courtesy of Sky Sports via YouTube, with thanks.

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