Rooney ready for Australian challenge

Striker Wayne Rooney is thrilled by the prospect of visiting Australia as part of Manchester United’s 2013 pre-season tour.

Striker Wayne Rooney is thrilled by the prospect of visiting Australia as part of Manchester United-s 2013 pre-season tour.

The Red Devils will play an A-League All Stars team in Sydney on Saturday 20 July as part of the club-s preparations for the 2013/14 season.

And Rooney, who has family living Down Under, can-t wait.

“In previous years we-ve travelled to various countries and seen a lot of different stuff, but I know for myself and for most of the players, it will be the first time to Australia,” he said.

“I-m looking forward to it. We know it-s a big football country and I-m sure the support will be great. We-re looking forward to going and I hope we can entertain the fans.

“My mum-s brother lives out there and has done since I was born. I-ve seen him when he-s come back home a few times at Christmas so it will be nice if I can see him when we go out there.”

Given there are no major international tournaments scheduled for summer 2013, United will take a full-strength side to Australia to face a team made up of the A-League-s brightest talent.

That could include Juventus legend Alessandro Del Piero, who-s now plying his trade for Sydney FC. His presence in the A-League, Rooney says, is testament to the growing popularity of football in the country.

But can Rooney see himself following the likes of Del Piero, Emile Heskey and, before them, Robbie Fowler and Dwight Yorke to Australia?

“You never know in football what-s going to happen,” he said. “I wouldn-t say never but it-s not something I-m looking at doing at the minute.”

For now, Rooney is thinking only of next summer-s visit.

“Hopefully the United fans in Australia enjoy us going out there and they enjoy the game. We want to bring some smiles to their faces and hopefully they can bring smiles to ours. It-s a new experience for us and I-m sure it will be a great occasion.”