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Chhetri all set to play against Manchester United

Indian striker Sunil Chhetri is all set to rub shoulders with international stars like Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Dimitar Berbatov as he will take the field for his Major League Soccer club Kansas City Wizards against English giants Manchester United in a pre-season friendly on July 25.

sports Updated: Jul 22, 2010 10:20 IST

Indian striker Sunil Chhetri is all set to rub shoulders with international stars like Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Dimitar Berbatov as he will take the field for his Major League Soccer club Kansas City Wizards against English giants Manchester United in a pre-season friendly on July 25.

Manchester United have confirmed that star players Giggs, Scholes, Gary Neville, Darren Fletcher, Berbatov and Edwin Van der Sar will play in the friendly at the KC Wizards newly renovated Arrowhead Stadium.

But the Red Devils' star striker Wayne Rooney and French import Patrice Evra won't be seen in action as they recover from World Cup fatigue. United's top defender Rio Ferdinand will also sit out because of a knee injury.

"We're looking forward to Sunil getting the opportunity to play," Kansas City Wizards Manager Peter Vermes said in a statement.

"He's been working very hard, and this game will give him a chance to measure himself against some of the best players in the world," he added.

Kansas City signed Chhetri from Dempo SC prior to the start of the 2010 season, making him the first Indian to join an MLS team.

"I'm very excited. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play against the best team in the world," Chhetri said.

Chhetri made his first-team debut in a Lamar Hunt US Open Cup play-in match on April 13 when he was named to the starting lineup in a 2-1 loss to the Colorado Rapids. But he is yet to make his MLS debut.

"In the three months I've been here, I've been working hard to understand the kind of game we play in Kansas City," Chhetri said.

"It's been difficult, because I've been trying my best to acclimatise. I'm excited. Not personally, but for the whole team and the whole of Kansas City and the whole of America. Manchester United is one of the best in the world. It should be a great experience for all of us.

"It's huge. I've heard Americans are more decent than what we have in India. They are crazy. The matches are crazy. You have stones, fires all of that," he added.

Chhetri was one of 30 players selected for the Indian team's ongoing preparations for the 2011 Asian Cup, but coach Bob Houghton indicated the 25-year-old would join the team towards the end of the year following the conclusion of the MLS season.

Chhetri was a pivotal player in the country's qualification process, scoring a hat trick in the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup final to secure India's spot in the Asian Cup for the first time in 24 years. Chhetri has appeared 35 times for India, scoring 16 goals.