Two days before his dream World Cup debut against Pakistan, India all-rounder Vijay Shankar went on a tour of 'Theatre of Dreams', Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United.
Vijay, a self-proclaimed fan of the Premier League club, was joined by his teammates Dinesh Karthik and Yuzvendra Chahal on the stadium tour.
On Sunday at Old Trafford — the cricket stadium just a mile away from the football namesake — Vijay scored an unbeaten 15 and picked up two for 22 in his team's thumping win over Pakistan.
“I started supporting from 2006,” Vijay told manutd.com , "I’m a great fan of Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick. I just love the way they played. Wayne Rooney is someone who is a worker – he never stops running – and Carrick is someone who is so composed.
“I was able to relate a lot to the character of someone like Carrick, who is very calm. So I started watching all these [players]. Since I’m also in sport, there are a lot of similarities that many sports people might have, so I love to see the good things that each and every sports person has – someone like Rooney or Carrick. Whoever plays for Manchester United, it’s a great club."
Taking about his Old Trafford experience, Vijay said, "Ever since I started following it, I’ve watched almost all of the games, and it’s a dream for me to be here, and I’m just loving it. As soon as I entered here [Old Trafford] I just had goosebumps.”
Vijay also said that he takes inspiration from other sporting professionals to deal with big-match situations.
“The amount of fitness that each individual has to do in this sport is just unbelievable, so it’s a great way to learn for me," he said.
Marcus Rashford, who inherited Rooney's No. 10 shirt last season, is the cricketer's favourite United player and also tipped Brazilian midfielder Andreas Pereira for greatness.
"Rashord is my favourite, and I’ve started liking Andreas Pereira. I have a feeling he’s going to be the next big thing for United," said Vijay.