Manchester United captain Gary Neville has been ruled out of the club’s summer tour because of injury.
The 35-year-old defender will remain at Carrington for treatment on a calf problem when the squad leave on Monday for Chicago, in the hope he will be fit for the start of the season.
Neville recovered strongly last season after injuries had curtailed his involvement in previous seasons and was handed a one-year extension to his contract.
United say he suffered a minor setback in training with a small tear to his calf muscle.
Manager Alex Ferguson believes it will be more beneficial for Neville to remain at home than make the trip.
With Neville remaining at home and fellow defender Rio Ferdinand also injured, veteran midfielders Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes will lead the 22-man party on the four-match tour beginning against Celtic in Toronto next Friday.
Edwin van der Sar, Darren Fletcher and Dimitar Berbatov will also travel, along with some promising youngsters including former Fulham defender Chris Smalling.
Portugal forward Nani is also included after making a quick recovery from a broken collarbone which caused him to pull out of the World Cup.
Ferguson believes football is beginning to take hold in the United States and he expects a competitive edge to their matches on tour.
The national side held England to a draw in the World Cup and Ferguson is convinced the standard of Major League Soccer is better than ever.
“American soccer is starting to make an impact and it is so improved,” said Ferguson. “I made that point about the United States team before the World Cup.
“I said they were going to play like real athletes – the guys are fit, committed, they believe in themselves.
“I think American football is that way – they’re all fit, athletic, they’ve got a good feel for the pitch.
“You can see that there is improvement in MLS. I have spoken to many people in the last few months about that and there is a big upsurge.”
United meet Philadelphia Union at Lincoln Financial Field on July 21, followed by a match against the Kansas City Wizards at Arrowhead Stadium on July 25.
They then finish the tour against the MLS All-Stars in Houston on July 28.
Ferguson added on the MLS website: “Winning is part of what we have to do here, but the main object is to get everyone game time, come back ready, fit to start the season.”
Tour squad: Edwin van der Sar, Tomasz Kuszczak, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Dimitar Berbatov, John O’Shea, Wes Brown, Rafael Da Silva, Jonny Evans, Darren Fletcher, Darron Gibson, Chris Smalling, Nani, Fabio Da Silva, Federico Macheda, Daniel Welbeck, Mame Biram Diouf Tom Cleverley, Ritchie De Laet, Corry Evans, Ben Amos, Gabriel Obertan.
Mexico striker Javier Hernandez will join up in Houston on July 27 after arriving from Chivas Guadalajara.