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Irwin wants young United stars to shine

Denis Irwin is hoping Manchester United's summer tour will be the making of some of the club's young players.

The former Republic of Ireland full back is well qualified to judge what it takes to make the step up.

The 44-year-old arrived at Old Trafford from Oldham after being a trainee at Leeds and went on to make 529 appearances for Alex Ferguson's side.

Irwin will see at first hand the way players such as new arrival Chris Smalling, Gabriel Obertan and Ritchie de Laet cope on the five-match tour as he is travelling with the team on their trip to North America.

He said: "It's good to see some young lads on the trip, it's a big year for a lot of them. I think the standard of MLS has improved, and the weather is going to be hot, so the tour will be a test for the boys.


"The manager will be able to see how good the young players are. The main thing for all the players is to get through training, get as many match minutes under your belt as possible and stay injury-free so you're ready for the start of the season."

United face Celtic in Toronto on Friday and return to the United States with matches against Philadelphia Union, Kansas City Wizards and an MLS select before finishing in Mexico where they will meet Chivas Guadalajara.

Irwin feels the fixtures will provide his former team with good preparation for the new campaign.

"The USA did well at the World Cup, the MLS season is in progress and they're very much geared towards the fact United are coming over," he added. "They're looking forward to it.

"It will be interesting to see what the standard is like over here but firstly I am looking forward to the game against Celtic."