ANZ Stadium tomorrow hosts its biggest sporting event since the 2000 Olympics – the A-League All Stars v Manchester United.
The stadium is sold out for the clash in which Australia’s best players take on some of the world’s highest profile stars, giving the A-League its biggest publicity boost since its inception in 2005.
The game is part of a tour that sees United travel to Thailand, Australia, Japan and Hong Kong.
Manchester United’s coach David Moyes has 19 players at his disposal for the tour. The full squad is as follows: goalkeepers – Andres Lindegaard, Ben Amos; defenders – Rafael, Phil Jones, Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans, Patrice Evra, Alex Buttner, Fabio, Michael Keane; midfielders – Michael Carrick, Anderson, Tom Cleverly, Ryan Giggs, Wilfried Zaha, Jesse Lingard, Adnan Januzaj; strikers – Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck. David De Gea and Robin Van Persie joined the team in Sydney this week; Shinji Kagawa will be joining them for the Japan leg of the tour. Wayne Rooney was to have visited but is home injured; Buttner is carrying an injury but remains on tour.
The All Stars fullback, Michael Beauchamp, has what looks like the toughest task, defending against the ace Dutch international striker Van Persie. Beauchamp was undaunted at a press conference this week though, saying he won’t let the stature of his opponent change his style: “I’ve still got to defend the same way and go about the positioning the same way.”
The squad for the All Stars is: goalkeepers – Ante Covic, Michael Theo; defenders – Pedj Bojic, Rhyan Grant, Michael Beauchamp, Nigel Boogaard, Connor Chapman, Joshua Risdon, Joshua Rose, Nikolal Topor-Stanley; midfielders – Brett Emerton, Thomas Broich, Liam Miller, Billy Celeski, Michael McGlinchey; strikers – Mark Bridge, Besart Berisha, David Williams, Paul Ifill.
All Stars coach Ange Postecoglou will be earning his salary this month, with another game against an English Premier League giant looming. His A-League side, Melbourne Victory, takes on the mighty Liverpool FC on July 24. – Blake Moretti
Top photo is of All Stars coach Ange Postecoglou barking orders, taken from A-League Facebook page