Ryan Giggs: Tour games tougher
Assistant manager Ryan Giggs discusses trips to the United States ahead of Manchester United's Tour 2014, presented by Aon...
What are the benefits of pre-season tours in the US?
There are lots of benefits. Obviously the facilities are good, all of the lads love going to the States because you can chill out in the day, do a bit of shopping and relax when you have a bit of downtime. You don’t get pestered like you might in other places.
Have you noticed a change in football's popularity in the US?
Yes I have. The popularity of football has got bigger and bigger in the US. I first went there with United eleven years ago and we have noticed that growth in popularity every time we have been back. We probably get more attention from the American media when we go there now and the stadiums are more often than not full. I think it is becoming more popular and more teams are going out there, which adds to it as well. Big teams as well!
Has the standard of the opposition changed too?
Yes, I have noticed that the quality in the MLS (Major League Soccer) teams has improved. Games against teams there have been getting tougher each time.
What are your memories of your first trip in 2003?
I really enjoyed that, the first time we had gone to the States as a club [in my time]. We stayed in Portland for 10 days where Nike’s headquarters are. We had a training camp there and a bit of downtime. We trained in the morning and afterwards we could go out in Portland, have a coffee and just relax – which was really good. We moved on to Chicago and played Juventus in New York. So we were going to great cities and places we had perhaps never been to before. I think all of the lads really enjoy going to the States.
What can you tell us about the training facilities you've seen at US sports clubs?
We have been lucky enough to train at the Philadelphia Eagles’ training ground and the Seattle Seahawks’ training ground, which was beautiful because it was right on the edge of a lake. The setting was brilliant but also the facilities were unbelievable. We have got great facilities ourselves at the Aon Training Complex but all of the time we are looking to develop and looking at other ideas that other teams and other sports have done to make ours better. We've definitely done that during trips to the States.
Tell us how pre-season training changed over the years... some people seem to think it's a case of run 10 miles, eat some pasta, and run some more!
No, it used to be like that, although maybe not as extreme! You didn’t see a football for the first four or five days. After six weeks off, it was just running. You had blisters, tight hamstrings and a bad back. Obviously, like everything, you learn from it and it evolves. Now, you do a little bit of running but you basically get your fitness from training and the games. That is another thing that has changed; the quality of the games has got better and it is a lot tougher to play pre-season matches now.