Wilkinson visits England on first MLS trip

PORTLAND, Ore. – As technical director of the Timbers Major League Soccer franchise, Gavin Wilkinson begins a week-long trip in England on Wednesday, where he will meet with multiple Premier League clubs and formally start scouting talent abroad.

Wilkinson’s first official scouting trip since being appointed as the technical director in January will include stops in the cities of London, Manchester and Sheffield. He arrived in London late Tuesday.

On his itinerary, Wilkinson will attend two marquee matches featuring some of the country’s top clubs. If available, Wilkinson is planning to attend the Tottenham vs. Arsenal match at White Hart Lane on Wednesday night. He will then head to Manchester to catch the rivalry fixture between Manchester City and Manchester United on Saturday. He’ll also take in the derby between League Championship sides Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday.

Wilkinson is scheduled to visit the training facilities for Premier League club Chelsea on Thursday, and was in the final stages of arranging a meeting with representatives at Liverpool. While in England, Wilkinson will connect with former Timbers teammate Sean McAuley, who currently is the academy head coach for Sheffield Wednesday.

As a result of his travels, Wilkinson, who is also the current head coach and general manager of the Timbers USSF Division-2 team, will miss the club’s season-opening match Saturday against Rochester. Wilkinson returns to Portland on Tuesday, April 20.

The trip to England is the first of multiple trips planned for Wilkinson in 2010, as he looks to find the right pieces for the Timbers roster for their inaugural MLS season in 2011.