Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Manchester United kitted out for big tests

Looking good: Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Shinji Kagawa model the new Manchester United strip

Manchester United have unveiled their new home kit for the 2014-15 season.

The strip, which coincides with the start of a new era under manager Louis van Gaal, is designed by Nike and is the first to bear the logo of new sponsor Chevrolet.

United announced they would be entering a seven-year agreement – worth a reported £53million per season – with the US car giant from this summer back in 2012.

The club released images of players modelling the kit, which is in traditional United colours, yesterday.

It will go on sale worldwide on July 16 and be worn for the first time in a match when United play Los Angeles Galaxy in the United States on July 23.

Meanwhile, Van Gaal has ensured that Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck, Phil Jones, Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling will take full part in United's pre-season tour of the US less than four weeks after England's early World Cup exit.

Nike paid just £1m in tax after selling £100m of Manchester United replica kits 

It's a major boost to the new manager as he bids to make the club title challengers again.

England's final match of a woeful campaign in Brazil was the 0-0 draw with Costa Rica on June 24 in Belo Horizonte.

Players are normally granted at least four weeks off following a major tournament, however with United flying out to their California training base on July 18, the England quintet will have had a few days less than a month away.

However, given that only Rooney was involved in all three group matches – and in the final one as a late replacement – while Welbeck did not feature against Costa Rica, which provided the only appearance for Smalling, Shaw and Jones, Van Gaal has asked to have all five on a tour that will feature at least four games.

Given the disruption caused by the World Cup, Holland's Robin van Persie will not join up with Van Gaal at United until August.

But the 62-year-old is keen to have as many of his squad together as he begins working on fitness, team shape and overall strategy for next season.

Van Gaal takes official charge of United once Holland's World Cup campaign ends.

Former Chelsea and England defender Ashley Cole has completed his free transfer move to Roma.

The 33-year-old left-back, a free agent following his release by the Blues earlier this summer, had been linked with a number of teams both in the Barclays Premier League and throughout Europe.

Cole tweeted: "Will never forget my time in England was a pleasure, but now onto a new challenge."

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