Manchester United legends Bryan Robson and Denis Irwin visited Newcastle ahead of Saturday's A-League All Stars fixture.
Manchester United legends Bryan Robson and Denis Irwin visited Newcastle today to promote the upcoming friendly match between the Red Devils and Foxtel A-League All Stars at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.
The pair, with the English Premier League trophy in tow, appeared at a civic reception at Newcastle City Hall, which was also attended by Newcastle Jets CEO Robbie Middleby and striker Michael Bridges.
Irwin and Robson, who both made over 300 appearances for United, were presented with a Newcastle flag by Lord Mayor Jeff McCloy, while Northern NSW Football chief executive David Eland handed the pair a book on Hunter football legend Reg Date.
Robson said the level of interest generated by Manchester United-s visit down under is further evidence of the growing level of interest in football in Australia.
“Over in England now, everybody has a lot of respect for the sport in Australia,” Robson said.
“(Australia) is not just coming to the fore of late on the football side of things, over the last 12 or 15 years Australia has been competing really well at a high level.
“There have been great players who have played in England from Australia and everybody has the utmost respect for these good footballers who have come through the ranks in Australia.”
The Newcastle Jets will be represented in the Foxtel A-League All Stars match by young central defender Connor Chapman.
Irwin said the fixture would be a great opportunity for Chapman to test himself against one of the world-s biggest sporting clubs.
“It will be a good experience for him playing against top professionals,” Irwin said.
“It-s going to be a tough game, but I-m sure he-s going to enjoy playing on such a big stage.”
Robson echoed Irwin-s sentiments, saying each member of the Foxtel A-League All Stars team will have the opportunity to impress and show their wares against United.
“When we go away and play against different opposition anywhere in the world, if there is a really good player who plays well against us, the scouts will watch him,” he said.
“You never judge a player just on one game, but if you see potential in that player then you keep watching them.”
“That-s how we signed Cristiano Ronaldo.”
Robson and Irwin also attended a Manchester United Soccer Schools coaching clinic with young local footballers at Wanderers Oval, Broadmeadow later in the afternoon.
“In an hour-and-a-half Denis and I can-t turn them into great players, but what we can try and do is try and pass on a little bit of knowledge and make sure it-s something they really enjoy,” Robson said.
“What they-ve got to do is take that on board and go practice it, because that-s what makes perfect in a sportsman.”