Darren Fletcher will return as captain of West Brom at the weekend, with Manchester United keen to get closer to the top four with three points.
The midfielder spent 20 years at United before Louis van Gaal sold him to West Brom. Having battled against ulcerative colitis for years, there was possibly the thought he wouldn’t be able to maintain his fitness. But Fletcher played in every Premier League game for West Brom last season, making 42 sppearances in total, and has played in 31 games this season.
Ahead of his return, Fletcher has admitted he does feel regret at having to leave United and still feels at home at Old Trafford.
I do look back with a little bit of regret because I actually thought I played really well for six months under Moyes and Ryan Giggs. But to be honest, I don’t think I was ever in Van Gaal’s plans in the first place.
I probably surprised him in pre-season, and that enabled me to stay when a lot of other players left, but ultimately, I couldn’t stay and not play. I would have been a bit-part player.”I just couldn’t see a way out of it. I felt that I had a lot more football in me, and I wanted to get out and give myself a chance to play. It was nothing personal. I just felt the time was right to start a new challenge.
The first time I went back, I went out into the tunnel for the line-up and stood on the wrong side! I was conscious of not making that mistake, but I was in the zone and ended up standing on the left side. I had to be told that the away team was on the other side!
When I am on the pitch at Old Trafford, it just feels comfortable. It feels like home. When you are looking around, it just feels normal. It doesn’t feel daunting, that I am playing an away game. It is like a home game, except I am playing against the red shirts, rather than playing for them. After West Brom, United are the next team I look out for, and I always want them to do well. I know a result for us on Saturday would be detrimental to their hopes of finishing in the top four, but they are good enough to win every game after ours, and hopefully that happens.