Rio Ferdinand says pre-season tour offers chance for Manchester United players to impress David Moyes

The defender expects an extra sharpness

Rio Ferdinand expects there to be an extra sharpness about Manchester United during their pre-season campaign due to the desire to impress new manager David Moyes.

Ferdinand is about to enter his 12th season at United, and the current tour of the Far East is his fourth such expedition to this part of the world.

All the rest have been under the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson but the Scot's retirement has brought a seismic change at Old Trafford.

And Ferdinand believes the impact will particularly be felt on the training ground.

"It's natural that everybody is trying to impress on this tour," Ferdinand told http://www.manutd.com.

"When you get a new manager you want to show him that you should be in the starting XI for that first day of the new season. That process has started already."

With one former team-mate, Phil Neville, installed as a coach, and a current one, Ryan Giggs, combining a backroom role with his playing responsibilities, there is an air of familiarity about Moyes' work.

And the general consensus is that United remain a tight-knit group.

"We've been back from our holidays for more than a week and it's been a really good start," said Ferdinand.

"It's been very hard but it's been enjoyable and we'll see the benefits of the work we've been putting in back in Manchester and the work we're about to do on tour in the shape of better fitness and a better understanding of the personalities of the players and coaching staff.

"It's a new era for all of us. Hopefully things will come together and we can get off to a good start once the season begins."

As usual, United's arrival in this part of the world attracted crowds, both at Bangkok airport and team hotel.

It is the scale and intensity of this support for the club upon which so much of their huge commercial success is based and it would be no surprise to learn the opening game of United's five-match tour of the Far East and Australia, against Singha All Stars on Saturday, is a sell-out.

Moyes' first task, along with Giggs, who has taken on a player-coach role this season, was to sign a book of good wishes for the Thai king, who is so revered in the country.

Although United's players were allowed some rest after their 12-hour flight, a closed-doors training session was planned for later in the day.

With Robin van Persie missing this leg of the tour, which moves on to Australia on Sunday before stops in Yokohama, Osaka and finally Hong Kong on July 29, Wayne Rooney will be the centre of attention.

Moyes has done as much as he can to deal with the matter, although the chatter will continue until Rooney states his intentions.

And another dark cloud has appeared in the form of reports in Spain that Barcelona midfielder Thiago Alcantara is on the brink of joining Bayern Munich.

It had been thought Thiago had opted to join United after deciding his hopes of securing a place in Spain's World Cup squad were best served away from the Nou Camp.

However, it seems the player has instead decided to link up with former boss Pep Guardiola at the Allianz Arena.

If confirmed, the news will be a blow to Moyes, who had hoped to use Thiago to bolster a midfield lacking Paul Scholes, who has retired, and for whom the futures of Darren Fletcher and Anderson in particular are uncertain.

PA

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