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Fletch: It’s Great To Be Back

A few months ago it looked as though Darren Fletcher’s football career might be over.

After coming off the bench in our game against Galatasaray last week, playing in his first game for the first team in almost a year, Fletcher played the full 90 in our League Cup victory over Newcastle last night, wearing the captain’s armband.

“It is great to be back,” Fletcher said. “I have had a few reserve games and a run-out in the Champions League last week but it is good to be back, especially at Old Trafford, and in a winning team as well.”

Sir Alex Ferguson was happy to see the fans give Fletcher a warm welcome last week when he replaced Scholes with ten minutes to play.

“The fans recognised what a tough time Darren has had,” said Ferguson. “It was a mark of respect that they gave him a marvellous ovation.”




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26 Comments

  1. Trydent says:

    Welcome back mate. You’ve been sorely missed!

  2. Giles Oakley says:

    It was a great sight to see Fletch leading the team out as captain, a great gesture by Fergie, following the ovation he got when he came on as sub against Galatasaray, a moment hich gave me goosebumps. I’ve always liked Fletch and we have missed him in so many ways in the last year. I think it’s arguable that with him fit we would have won the title as we lacked his tenacious tackling and tough presence in midfield in crucial matches, eg Wigan away and Everton, and possibly the City 0-1. I just can’t believe we would have thrown away our 4-2 lead v Everton in the last few minutes if Daren Fletcher had been there. But above all that, it’s great for Fletch as a man who’s been through hell, and can at last see some real hope of a proper return to the top. It’s to the credit of United that they have stood by him, and also to his medical specialists (one would like to think the much-criticised medical staff at the club have played a part here).

    So, welcome home, Darren, we want to see more of you!

  3. Nicky_Shaw says:

    Fletcher looked sharp last night. His touch was decent, and generally, played well!

    Same with Rooney too, he looked sharp, and fit again. Lost a bit of weight I see aswell. Some great cross-field passes! Scholesy like.

    Decent performance from the young back four. Especially pleased with Wootton. Despite being beaten in the air most of the game from Ameobi, still had a good game.

    Good to see strength in depth, squad wise.

    Look forward to see what team plays in next round against Chelsea.

  4. Zibbie says:

    Sir Giles, yes. So spot on. I love Fletch.

  5. Costas says:

    Seeing him back was heartwarming. Hopefully he’s managed to reinvent his playing style and that will salvage his career. It will be depressing to see him move around the pitch less than he did before his illness, but he will be very useful sitting in front of the back 4. It’s also what Keane did after the hip op.

  6. Doghouse says:

    I know the league cup is a chance to bring in the youngsters but I think they should have waited another year or two before giving the lad at the front of that picture his first start.

  7. DreadedRed says:

    Welcome back to centre-stage Darren Fletcher!

    You certainly look healthy, we all have your well-being at heart. Your determined quality has been sorely missed, we look forward to a big contribution from you as we chase down the silverware this season. With careful attention we hope you can continue to exert your influence on games for years to come.

    Darren Fletcher is back!

  8. DiegoForlanDK says:

    WB fletch – you have been missed. And so has Ando. I know this guys’ performances is a rollercoaster, but I want him nearer our startin XI. at the moment we’re playing around our cm when we face tougher opponents. ando has the speed, strength and athletism to fill out our missing link in midfield as I see it.

  9. #07 says:

    Does anyone remember how good Fletch was in the 2009 Champions League semi final or the 4-3 against City or the demolition of AC Milan the same season? If Fletch can get anywhere near that form again it’d be amazing.

    So glad to see him last night. One of my moments of the half when he dumped Tiote on the floor. :P A fully fit Fletch mopping up behind the mobile pairing of Cleverley and Ando would be a dream come true: Every question about our midfield would be answered.

  10. DreadedRed says:

    Craig Levein says:

    “The very fact Darren is playing this match for Manchester United tells you that he is ready to be involved in first-team football again. I will obviously have to wait and see how he is after tonight. But I think this is the first step in really getting him back into the fold again. Sir Alex said he would be happy for him to be involved. It’s just fantastic to see him back, especially knowing what he’s been through and how hard he has had to fight.”

    “What is really encouraging for me is that he is absolutely desperate to get back to playing for Scotland. It will take him a while to get all his sharpness back. But you could see his influence on the pitch. He was shouting and directing other players. That in itself is a huge plus for Scotland because we suffered in the last couple of games from not having someone to do that specific role. We had Gary Caldwell to fill the position and he did well, but it’s really great to see Darren back.”

  11. Gentle says:

    Fletcher n cleverly might just be d missing combination. Fletch sitting deep and supports occasionally and clev roaming about like young scholes. It was a delight to watch. Welcome back we sorely missed u

  12. dannysoya LOVES USAIN BOLT says:

    look how happy he is just to be shaking hands on the field again. The man has undying passion for this club and I hope he gets back to full fitness quick so he can be put STRAIGHT into the line up again. big ball of energy who can also ping the ball around pretty well.

  13. denton davey says:

    Giles Oakley @ 12:28: “But above all that, it’s great for Fletch as a man who’s been through hell, and can at last see some real hope of a proper return to the top.”

    While I think you’re going a bit over-board when you write that he’s “been through hell”, Darren has had a bout of ulcerative colitis – he’s not been to war on the beaches of Normandy. Plus, he’s obviously had a fairly mild case since he’s been able to return to a level of fitness that allows him to compete with other supremely-fit professional athletes which just would not be the case if he had had a really-serious bout of ulcerative colitis which would have required surgical intervention and a permanent colostomy-bog. In point of fact, he’s been lucky in that he’s no doubt had the very best of medical attention and that care has been successful.

    Having written that, I completely agree with what you said about the importance of DarrenFletcherinho to TheLads’ success – and the lack thereof when he’s absent: No Fletch/NoWin.

  14. denton davey says:

    Costas @ 12:47: “Hopefully he’s managed to reinvent his playing style and that will salvage his career. It will be depressing to see him move around the pitch less than he did before his illness, but he will be very useful sitting in front of the back 4.”

    He wasn’t moving around the pitch less than he did before his illness; that’s what was so impressive to me. SAF had DarrenFletcherinho playing the CarrickRole BUT he did so in a much more pro-active manner – seeking out confrontation rather than waiting to shield the defence. No doubt, it helped him that he was flanked by two active young guys rather than TheShadowOfTheGingerNinja. Having a pro-active trio gave UTD’s midfield an energy and combativeness that is lacking when some variant of Carrick and Giggs/Scholes plays there. Did SAF see that too ? Can that trio do the same against first-team regulars rather than recovering-from-injury Cheikh Tiote and some second-stringers ? To me, that’s the next question that needs answering.

  15. denton davey says:

    #07 @ 13:50: “Does anyone remember how good Fletch was in the 2009 Champions League semi final or the 4-3 against City or the demolition of AC Milan the same season? If Fletch can get anywhere near that form again it’d be amazing.”

    Does anyone NOT remember how crappy our midfield was in Rome when DarrenFletcherinho (in his full “football genius” mode) was side-lined from the CL final ? NoFletch/NoWin.

  16. matt says:

    its great to have you back fletch

  17. parryheid says:

    I’m trusting that his recovery is permanent and it is all onward and upward from now on.The link man I have been crying out for as have many.

  18. denton davey says:

    parryheid @ 15:29: “I’m trusting that his recovery is permanent and it is all onward and upward from now on.”

    Would that it were so.

    Ulcerative colitis is mysterious in its flare-ups – if all goes well, touch wood, the disease will be in remission for a good long time BUT it’s entirely possible that Darren might get himself right back to full fitness and then – boom ! – it flares up again, for no apparent reason.

    My fingers are very tightly crossed that he has some years of complete health – for himself as a professional athlete and a key player for my team as well as for himself as a man, a husband and a father of twins.

  19. Marq says:

    I can really see Fletcher playing the Keane role for the next 2-3 years if he can stay fit. How ironic is it that the very player Keane included in his rant is becoming the closest thing to him now

  20. Corea says:

    During the summer break i spoke about how i didn’t believe Fletch would be able to come back before Christmas. It’s a wonderful surprise. Just want to be cautious, let’s give it still some time and pray.

  21. parryheid says:

    denton davey.

    like Corea I doubted we would see him all being well until the new year also,a return before then is more than welcome because by Christ he is sorely needed.I am aware all is in the lap of the gods hence I’m trusting.

  22. LoneStarRed says:

    @ Giles
    Your point regarding the medical staff was spot on. So much negative is attributed to them for so much. Here, they must be given enormous plaudits.

  23. Eric L'edieu says:

    Fingers crossed for the lad.
    He could do with some luck.
    After the initial few years of not really being noticed, he really took centre staff 2 or 3 years ago & became an essential name on the teamsheet.
    Barca in Rome could’ve been very different.
    But you have to wonder how long the return is for.
    Without being pessimistic, there’s every chance it could return at any time, & as its never really going to disappear, it must be a concern of how it will affect his fitness & stamina levels.
    Lets just hope his return is a long one, cos its exactly the tigerish aggressive approach the he brought to the middle ofcthe park that we’ve so sadly been lacking.

  24. LoneStarRed says:

    As others have said, Fletcher’s tenacity is exactly what we have lacked. In the past , a lineup with Fletcher and Park meant “closed for business” to our opponents midfield. Long may he clog the passing lanes and harry opposition in the midfield.

  25. T. says:

    It is by far the best signing of this years Silly season to have him back in the team! Welcome back.

  26. SWJ says:

    I was chuffed to bits to see Fletcher back in a United shirt

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