Chris Smalling looking forward to facing the big sides ahead of Manchester United's pre-season American tour

Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has stated his excitement for the club's upcoming tour of the United States of America, stating that playing the likes of Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona are the kind of sides they should be testing themselves against in pre-season.

That calibre of opponent can only bode well

The 2016/17 season was a long, but ultimately successful campaign for the club as José Mourinho collected three trophies and Champions League football in his first season, and they will be looking to go one step further next season.

United's players have been given a well deserved break after playing more than 60 games, but pre-season preparation will be imminent as they prepare for their International Champions Cup stint in the states.

Their game roster isn't shy of some excellent fixtures, ahead of their opening clash with their Eastlands rivals on July 21 Smalling stated that such games are a great preparation for the upcoming season.

"They’re the kind of teams that we should be testing ourselves against in pre-season," Smalling told "Getting up to speed with that calibre of opposition can only bode well for when the season actually starts."

"Yes 100 per cent," he stated when asked if he was excited for the friendlies. "It doesn’t matter if it’s a friendly or a big Champions League game."

"You always want to win," Smalling added. "Everyone’s mentality is always the same in those games and in every game we play."

Always want to beat them

The clash with City will be the first Manchester derby that will be played outside the city, and despite been played a thousand miles from home the intensity will not be any different at the NRG Stadium.

The two were supposed to play last summer during the club's respective tours of the Far East and would have clashed in Beijing, and veteran midfielder Michael Carrick stated the game will be important no matter the location.

"It’s important of course but it’s pre-season," he said. "And there is a process for players and the squad which you’re going through at that time with your fitness."

"Nevertheless, a game is a game and, whenever we play," Carrick concluded. "We want to win and it would be great for the fans to experience that."