United In Perth is brought to you by The Far Post Perth.
A crowd of around 14,000 people flocked to the WACA last night to watch Manchester United go through a 75-minute training session.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been working his players hard; Thursday was their second double session day ahead of Saturday’s opening preseason game against Perth Glory at Optus Stadium.
The evening got off to a humorous start as a light aircraft flew overheard carrying a banner that read “Liverpool FC – 6x European Champions!”.
United took to the field just after 5pm WST, with Romelu Lukaku and Anthony Martial the notable absentees.
Both were seen riding exercise bikes inside, and United officials later confirmed that they were on modified gym programs, and Lukaku has “a little problem”.
Speculation is mounting about the Belgian striker’s future at the club with Inter Milan leading the race to secure his signature.
Paul Pogba is another player whose future is up in the air, but the midfielder was in great form as he entertained the crowd with some slick skills in the warmup and a spectacular overhead kick in one of the small sided games.
It was a cool winter’s evening in Perth and the greasy surface at the WACA allowed some fast football to be played, much to the delight of spectators.
A couple of five-a-side games with full size goals gave a proper look at the goalkeepers in action, and it was Argentine shot stopper Sergio Romero who impressed the most between the sticks with some spectacular saves.
There are plenty of youngsters in the United squad and new boy Daniel James looked very eager to impress, while Angel Gomes was also heavily involved.
Luke Shaw may be a doubt for the games against Perth Glory and Leeds United; the left back wore a bandage on his knee throughout the session and departed after an hour.
The finishing drills got the crowd excited as the likes of Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard hammered balls towards goal with mixed results; a couple of lucky fans picked up a souvenir for themselves in the form of stray footballs that found their way into the stands.
Tickets for the session sold for $5 each with proceeds going to Telethon and the Manchester United Foundation, and junior representatives from both joined the playing group for some fun and games on the pitch.
Before heading back to the dressing rooms, some of the United squad spent a few minutes signing autographs for supporters.
Solskjaer, Pogba, David De Gea and Juan Mata were among those who stopped briefly, while Victor Lindelof signed just one shirt because it had his name on the back.
Credit must go to both James and Diogo Dalot who spent a solid 10 minutes posing for selfies and inking merchandise, despite the best efforts of United staff members to get them to leave.
It all seemed a bit rushed, especially compared to last year when some of Chelsea’s stars spent a good half an hour with fans in the rain after their open training session at the same venue.
Things are a bit different with United in town, as Glory have found out.
The A-League side were part of a joint event launch with Chelsea at Optus Stadium in 2018 but have been shunned this time round.