BROWN READY FOR BARCELONA RETURN
Wes Brown was back at his old school in Burnage to train with some lucky youngsters ahead of appearing for Manchester United’s Legends in the big game with Barcelona on 2 September at Old Trafford.
Brown excelled as part of a three-man defence at the Nou Camp and helped the Reds ease to a 3-1 victory, despite the home side containing the attacking talent of Ronaldinho, Rivaldo and Patrick Kluivert. Ronaldinho, in particular, was a box of tricks throughout and proved a tricky customer to handle.
Speaking during the session with a decent split of boys in United and Barca shirts, the ex-Reds defender is clearly relishing the chance to take on the Catalan giants again in the charity fixture.
“I’ve not been back here for many years,” he told MUTV at the Burnage Academy for Boys. “The school’s changed a lot, to be fair, they’ve got some great pitches now for the boys to play on and it’s just good to be back really.
“It was really good here. I mean, in my day, we played more basketball. Obviously, we played football but our main sport was basketball. We won the national championship, when I was 14, I think. We had a good little team and we managed to get to the final and win it, so I think that’s where I get a lot of my athleticism from.”
The 3-1 win in Barcelona was a great advertisement for Legends football and Brown expects more of the same to be dished up at Old Trafford, during an international weekend at the start of September.
“It was brilliant,” he said of the first leg. “Just seeing the lads that I’ve played with, and even the older boys that I obviously see around as well, and then to play at the Nou Camp in front of 50,000 was tremendous really. I’ve not done that for many years now and I never thought I’d be at the Nou Camp again anyway.
“We played three at the back, but I think Ji [-sung Park] got probably the hardest position ever, playing against Edgar Davids and them two were battling it out all night. We managed the tactics right because they had some really good players and we managed to get the win in the end.
“To be fair to Ronaldinho, he’s top man and he’s still a legend,” continued Brown. “He’s still got all the tricks, you know if you try to get tight on him, he can still pull it out of the bag, like he did to Jesper [Blomqvist] , so you always need to be careful around him because he’s a big threat all the time.
“I mean everyone loves [Lionel] Messi, [Luis] Suarez and Neymar, so they are a massive club and they’ve had big, big players and, hopefully, a lot of these boys here might be able to get to the game as well and watch it at Old Trafford. It’s important that kids see people like Rivaldo and Ronaldinho.
“I mean these boys are only young so they’ll definitely know Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo but with Ronaldinho, you know, I’m sure if they did see him, they’ll go ‘Who’s that?’ and go looking him after that on YouTube or something now. It’s just a good fixture, to be fair, and it’s for a great cause as well.”
The Legends match is live on MUTV. Tickets for the game at Old Trafford on 2 September are on sale at manutd.com/legendsareback. Prices start from £20 for adults and £5 for under-16s, with hospitality packages available from £125. All proceeds will go to Manchester United Foundation’s work across Greater Manchester.