Transatlantic tour excites duo

West Ham United will take on the Major League Soccer All-Stars a month today and the entire squad is looking forward to the experience.

On Thursday 24 July, Alan Curbishley's men will be up against the cream of talent from the leading league in the United States and Canada in Toronto. Fans in North America are voting for the players they would like to see represent the MLS from the 14 top-flight clubs. The match, to be played at BMO Field, will be the fifth time the MLS All-Stars have taken on an overseas club and they have won all four of the previous encounters against CD Guadalajara, Celtic, Fulham and Chelsea.

England striker Dean Ashton, likely to come up against international team-mate David Beckham, is particularly relishing the prospect of a tour that will also include a fixture against top MLS side Columbus Crew in Ohio on Sunday 20 July. "It will be fantastic," he said. "That is what it is about these days. All the big clubs are going away now and playing these games against different kinds of opposition. We are no different and it will be great to go out there and play a high-profile game."

Club captain Lucas Neill sees the trip as crucial to highlighting the club's stature and standing around the world. "The tour to America and Canada is very exciting, especially Canada as I myself have never been there," he said. "It is a great to be able to promote and advertise West Ham in different corners of the world and I am sure a lot of our fans will relish the chance to come and support the team out there. The All-Star game is especially exciting, it is a very high profile occasion against the best players from the MLS so we are very privileged to be playing in it."