By Josh James in Kuala Lumpur
After just one day of the tour, Arsenal's presence in Malaysia has captured the public's imagination.
The Gunners are front page news on one of the country's biggest national newspapers, The Star, and the hysteria reached fever pitch in the evening as 30,000 fans filed into the national stadium to watch training.
Each player was given a rapturous reception as they entered the field (especially Robin, Samir and Jack), while even the backroom staff were cheered to the rafters.
It was the second training session of the day following a quieter, but no less intense, work out behind closed doors at the impressive Shah Alam Stadium. That consisted of jogging, shuttles and then a pass-and-move drill before a small, fast-paced practice game.
An hour of strenuous exercise in temperatures of 30 degrees (boosted by a 70 per cent humidity factor) can be hard-going. Combine it with the lingering effects of jet lag (the session was at 4am UK time) and you get an idea of what the squad endured this morning.
It's all part and parcel of pre-season though. For the training game, Vito Mannone was in goal in a defence versus attack exercise in which the defence appeared to come out on top.
A modest Vito said afterwards that the forwards always take a couple of weeks to find their shooting boots at the beginning of pre-season. Perhaps they are storing up the goals for tomorrow night's match.
After training it was time for lunch and various media engagements. Theo, Alex, Wojciech and Jack were mobbed by thousands of fans at a Nike event in a local shopping mall, while Tomas, Carl and Andrey ascended the famous Petronas Towers for an Arsenal Player feature.
Meanwhile back at the team hotel I was in the audience for Arsène Wenger's Q&A session with 50 Malaysian businessmen.
The manager, once again, demonstrated his incredible public speaking prowess, discussing how football management relates to business management. He answered questions such as how to deal with egos, whether he re-evaluates his tactics during losing streaks and how he finds a balance between successful business and producing fine art, and even quoted famous philosophers along the way ("The only way to deal with death is to turn each day that proceeds it into art" was his answer to the latter question).
The audience was spellbound and gave him a standing ovation. If this tour is as much about promoting the Club's image to a new fanbase as it is about playing football, then Arsène's presence at such events is priceless. It's difficult to imagine any other manager in the world, let alone the Premier League, holding court in such fashion with 50 Asian entrepreneurs.
Public engagement successfully taken care of, it's now back to the day job for Arsène as he continues preparations for the game against Malaysia. News of that tomorrow.12 Jul 2011