Manchester United to tour North America

NEW YORK - There will be little time to rest for Manchester United's players in the off-season with the English Premier League club revealing plans to tour North America immediately after the World Cup.

Manchester United announced on Thursday they would play one match in Canada and another three in the United States, kicking off just five days after the World Cup final, although any players involved in the latter stages of the tournament in South Africa are unlikely to be included.

They will begin their tour against Scottish Premier League runners-up Celtic in Toronto (July 16), before playing Philadelphia Union (July 21) and Kansas City Wizards (July 25) then the Major League Soccer All-Stars in Houston (July 28).

Manchester United had already announced they would play Guadalajara (July 30) as part of a deal to sign prolific Mexican striker Javier Hernandez.

English Premier League teams have been regular visitors to North America but Manchester United's last visit was in 2004 and they have mostly toured Asia, where the club is enormously popular, in the past decade.

Last year, they cancelled the Indonesian leg of their Asian tour after the hotel where they were due to stay in Jakarta was bombed.

"It's great to be going back to North America," Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said in a statement.

"It's especially pleasing to be going in a World Cup year when the interest in football will be at its height."

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