Once a Red, always a Red... David Beckham insists there will only ever be one team in the city he used to call home.
Unsurprisingly, after six Premier League titles, two FA Cups and one Champions League triumph during his 10 campaigns at Old Trafford, the 36-year-old former Manchester United icon still believes the Red Devils will never be overtaken by their big-spending neighbours.
City finished third in the Barclays Premier League last season, nine points behind United, to qualify for the Champions League for the first time.
But while Beckham acknowledged Roberto Mancini's side have developed rapidly in recent years he cannot see them usurping United. “They're bringing good players in, they've got strong people with a lot of money behind them, so they're going to improve,” Beckham said.
“But they'll never be Manchester United. They might be a threat this season but United have got the history, the silverware over the last 20 years.
“There's only one team in Manchester but City I'm sure will be a team to look at going forward.”
Beckham, whose LA Galaxy face City on Sunday, also does not believe the potential loss of Carlos Tevez, who still wants to leave after a transfer to former club Corinthians fell through, will harm City too badly.
“Tevez was a really strong player for them last season, so if they lose him it will be disappointing,” he added. But they've got a lot behind them as an organisation, so they can afford to bring world class players in.
“If they continue to do that I'm sure they'll be strengthened.”
Meanwhile Ashley Young declared himself “delighted” with the start to his United career, after two friendlies so far on the club's American tour. Young played in the 7-0 victory over Seattle Sounders in the early hours yesterday, and spoke of his thrill at being at a club of United's stature.
“I am just delighted to be here and get myself on the pitch,” said Young, who joined from Aston Villa last month for £17m. “No disrespect for the Villa boys but as soon as I heard of Manchester United's interest, I just wanted to get the deal done and start training. I can play left, right, off the front striker or as a main striker, so I just have to concentrate on my own game and wherever I am picked, do myself justice.
“The manager bought me for a reason, to get assists and goals and work hard for the team. If I can do that every time I am selected, my job is done.”
The 26-year-old winger has been immediately impressed by the profile of the club in the United States, as gauged by their reception on tour.
“This is fantastic for me,” Young said. “You come to the United States and see the number of fans outside the hotel every day. It is crazy and just shows how big the club is. For me to be part of that is fantastic.”
Young played in the 7-0 defeat of Seattle Sounders, although the man of the evening was Wayne Rooney, who scored a 21-minute hat-trick in the second half.
It was a stellar performance from the player whose name adorned more Premier League shirts than any other sold last season.