Manchester United stars reveal why they’ve fallen in love with Melbourne during Australia tour


Manchester United stars reveal why they’ve fallen in love with Melbourne as they lead calls for English Premier League teams to stage more games in Australia’s sporting capital

  • Manchester United played in front of 74,000 spectators at the MCG on Friday
  • Almost 80,000 fans are expected to attend the game against Crystal Palace 
  • United players hope to return to Melbourne soon after receiving great welcome
  • Leeds and Aston Villa are also on tour in Australia this winter  

Manchester United players have been so impressed with their sojourn in Melbourne that they have suggested Australia’s sporting capital should host more pre-season games.

Some 74,000 fans attended United’s 4-1 win over Melbourne Victory on Friday at the MCG, with approximately 80,000 expected at the same venue when United face Crystal Palace on Tuesday.

Over the years, Australia has been a relatively common pre-season destination for Premier League clubs and United players are eager to return as soon as possible.

United players have enjoyed their stay in Melbourne and spoke glowingly about the reception they have received in Australian’s sporting capital so far 

For United, this tour is the second visit to Australia in four years – they played two games in Perth in 2019 – but a first to Melbourne since 1999.  

Almost a quarter of a century elapsed between United’s last visit to Melbourne in 1999 and this tour – United’s last visit to Australia came three years ago, when they played in Perth twice 

This winter marks the first time in three years the Premier League giants have played in Australia and their first time they have been back in Melbourne since 1999. 

The prospect of a game taking place outside England at any point during the season remains remote – at least until Cardiff or Swansea return to the top-flight – but could Melbourne stage a pre-season match each year?

United held their away kit launch in Melbourne and Scott McTominay (right) has backed the possibility of holding pre-season games in the city every year

United held their away kit launch in Melbourne and Scott McTominay (right) has backed the possibility of holding pre-season games in the city every year 

Marcus Rashford certainly appeared open to the idea. 

‘The facilities have been good, the stadium has been nice, the fans have been supportive and there has been an atmosphere everywhere that we go,’ the England international told The Herald Sun.

‘So if it was possible, I’d say yeah. Bring some more games here.

United played in front of 74,000 fans at the MCG against Melbourne Victory on Friday

United played in front of 74,000 fans at the MCG against Melbourne Victory on Friday

Fans flocked to Melbourne from various parts of Australia to watch United in action

Fans flocked to Melbourne from various parts of Australia to watch United in action

This year marks United's first trip to Australia since 2019, when they played in Perth

This year marks United’s first trip to Australia since 2019, when they played in Perth

United midfielder Scott McTominay struck a similar tone and said the possibility of staging an annual pre-season game in Melbourne was definitely one to explore.

‘Yeah of course,’ he said. ‘The fans are crazy, they are more than capable with the fan capacity in stadiums to host some more games. We are just so blessed and excited to have this many people who support us and we are so grateful.’

Like some of their Premier League counterparts, United tend to travel to a different destination for pre-season each year. This winter alone, the Red Devils played in Thailand against Liverpool before making their way to Victoria.

The Reds have since taken on Palace in Singapore, before returning to Europe for two games in Germany. The Eagles, meanwhile, have continued on to Australia, joining a trio of Premier League clubs including Aston Villa, Leeds and United. 

United players have spoken of how welcoming crowds in Australia have been so far

United players have spoken of how welcoming crowds in Australia have been so far 

Bruno Fernandes was among the United players saying he hoped to return to Melbourne as soon as possible for a pre-season game

Bruno Fernandes was among the United players saying he hoped to return to Melbourne as soon as possible for a pre-season game 

Leeds United and Aston Villa faced each other on the Gold Coast on Saturday

Leeds United and Aston Villa faced each other on the Gold Coast on Saturday 

Manchester City, Chelsea, Everton and Arsenal, meanwhile, are all in action in the US. 

Melbourne, however, has made a big impression on United. 

‘Obviously there are so many countries and places that want to see us and it’s good for us to go to different places,’ star midfielder Bruno Fernandes said.

‘But Melbourne has been really nice for us, the stadium was amazing.’

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