Sir Alex Ferguson has hailed the importance of the International Champions Cup, the pre-season tournament that Manchester United will participate in this summer in the USA.
Ferguson retired in 2013, before the Reds began their association with the ICC, but recognised it's importance due to a number of factors when speaking to the club's official website.
United currently have eight pre-season games scheduled, including three ICC games against local rivals Manchester City (the first Manchester Derby outside of England) and Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Ferguson: ICC important for youngsters
“The great thing about United is you’ve got to accept the challenge of beating the best,” Ferguson told ManUtd.com. “The expectation is always there and the matches we’ll face in the ICC are all big ones."
Ferguson put great importance on using pre-season to bring youngsters into the first team and give them essential experience against big opponents.
“It’s very good for the younger players to come into this type of competition in terms of preparing to be a Manchester United player.
“The more intense the challenge they can get, the better prepared they will be when facing Manchester City in an important league match or Real Madrid or Barcelona in Europe.
“The preparation to play in games as big as that can be started in pre-season tournaments like the ICC, which is fantastic.”
United have 8-game pre-season scheduled
Despite last season being the second longest season in Man United's history in terms of games played, the Reds are back for pre-season on July 8. Their first game, against LA Galaxy, is on July 15 before a quick run of big games.
José Mourinho will give one new signing his debut in the USA in 22-year-old centre-back Victor Lindelöf but will be hoping to wrap up a number of other deals before pre-season kicks off. Alvaro Morata and Ivan Periśič have both been heavily linked to United.