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Is Fletcher Important To United?

Darren Fletcher goals Arsenal Fabregas FA CupFor all his faults, Darren Fletcher is a player who usually shows up in the big games, showing himself as a player who can be relied upon when we really need him.

He was a strong figure in all of our Champions League games last season, and throughout the course of the season, put in great performances against the likes of Barcelona, Roma and Arsenal.

It was his game against Arsenal in the FA Cup which he will be remembered for last season though, scoring two goals in our 4-0 win. Along with Anderson and Carrick, Fletcher bossed the Arsenal midfield, which contained Fabregas, Hleb and Gilberto from the start.

He will never be good enough for a starting XI place at United though, and with our midfield bulking up with talent, it looks as though Fletcher is going to face a real battle next season to get playing time.

Whilst capable of raising his game when required to, he doesn’t have the consistent high level required of him to stamp his authority on a position at United. However, Ferguson, who has possibly given Fletcher more time than any other top 4 manager would have done, has today said that the Scottish midfielder is important to United and has a part to play next season, as we defend our Premiership and Champions League titles.

“He’s been very unlucky, but he keeps coming back,” said “He’s an important player to us. He always plays well in big games – that’s the great value he brings to the club. He’s a big-game player and we’ve plenty of big games, so he’ll play his part.”



About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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37 Comments

  1. Red Steve says:

    In a word NO! He’s important only in the respect we use him as a makeweight to buy a decent player. Can’t pass,can’t head a ball, can’t tackle and can’t shoot. Apart from that he is great!

  2. Christovski says:

    What do you mean “Can’t head a ball”? Half his goals have been bloody headers.

  3. Patrik says:

    It’s important to have 5 central midfielders since we sometimes play with 3 at the same time. He’s got something that adds to the squad, and therefore he’s important. He runs more than anyone in the team, and he’s decent otherwise. I really like him and I would miss him if he’d leave, although I’d understand if he wanted to leave to get more playing time.

  4. kramer says:

    eh? steve, watch the MotD highlights from the game against the arse in the fa cup last season for a rebuttal for all of your points.

  5. Red Steve says:

    Yes sorry he is so prolific a goal scorer. 2 goals last season! 9 goals in 4 seasons so 4.5 with his head then! The HEADED goal against Chelsea was really intentional! Can you actually tell me what he ADDS to the team. His best asset is his pointing! As for the game against Arsenal. You could of stuck RALPH MILNE in the team and he would of tore that muppet Gallas apart.! Please just sit and watch a match when he is on the pitch and just watch him.

  6. Hardcore Harry says:

    Lay off him – he’s improved loads and is still pretty damn young. He’s basically a poor man’s Hargreaves…he runs about, gets involved, drives the midfield forward and his distribution isn’t too shabby at all. All in all, he’s a solid squad player and they’re always needed during the season. Keep him.

  7. Ian says:

    I’m telling you that Fletcher will be a 15-20M player by the time he’s 27. He’s still only 24 and has bags of experience. Over the last couple of years he’s improved a lot. By 27 he’ll be hard to keep out of the team.

  8. Red Steve says:

    Great, lets take the money now. Know what you mean though if Barry goes for 18m. Can I ask you though. Do you actually think in 3 years time he will be ahead of Anderson,Hargreaves,carrick,nani and Ronaldo (thats a personal hope he stays?)

  9. Stephen says:

    Steve, I would rather Fletcher in as a squad player than Sidwell. He is not a prolific scorer what is Anderson, Carrick, Hargo or recently Scholes?
    You need plyers like Fletcher who are not mercenaries but care about the club and play for the shirt, not their bank balances.

  10. Jas Rai says:

    Red Steve you’re being a bit harsh on the lad. Everytime he needs to put in a big performance he does, what more can the lad do?

  11. Brian says:

    hes in no way a classy player bur i definitely would no sell him. Hes one the few genuine defensive midfielders in our squad. Hes a much better defensive midfielder than the likes of Carrick. He loves the club and works his arse off every time he plays. Also, when we were beaten by chelsea at the end of the season he was our best player on the pitch. So in short, hes not outstanding but regardless he can do a very good job and we should not even contemplate selling him.

  12. Brian says:

    Red Steve – Fletcher cant tackle!!! You are talking rubbish son.!

  13. Kiddo says:

    Fletch’s a great player. He’s content with being in the bench and play second fiddle to our pool of talents in midfield. And when called for duty, he’ll do his job and he does it well. We can’t just condemn someone because he does not have much skill as compared to the likes of anderson, nani, ronaldo, hargreaves, scholes, giggs or carrick. He’s a good backup player for us. So i feel lets be grateful to have him in the squad. He should feature for us in big games and hopefully he can produce the magic when he’s called to do so. :) peace

  14. austin says:

    red steve- was gonna tell you what a buffoon you are but seen as evryone else has put u straight i wont bother!

  15. Red Steve says:

    Brian, so he’s not that good but lets keep him? Funny how he’s on the park during a defeat? My point is everytime we struggle he is RUNNING around midfield. Count the amount of times he gets taken off and we then start playing well. The guy is an AVERAGE squad player. The question at the top was Is Fletcher important. The answer is NO. He’s not classey,he does not contribute to scoring or passing but yes he puts lots of effort in (Whoopy) So did Gary Birtles! As for the he can tackle bit. As I’ve said before just watch him. He may attempt to tackle but heis knocked off the ball to easily. Not a good thing for a DEFENSIVE midfielder.

  16. Stephen says:

    Steve, Birtles was a striker and scoring goals is what they do or in his case did not.

    We all know he is not a starter but a decent squad player none the less. Are squad players important to teams the answer is YES so Fletcher is important.

  17. Paul says:

    While Fletch was useless a season and a half ago he is now an improved player and a star performer in some of the big games, watching him live he used to dissapear at OT but now he is brave and wants the ball and works his back end off. Not a starter but in a squad game he has his value for the reds

  18. Red Steve says:

    My point about Birtles WAS he ran around alot not actually doing anything. Same with Fletcher. Both Birtles and Fletcher on the pitch meant we were effectively playing with 10 players! I QUESTION YOUR USE OF THE WORD DECENT. The tea lady is IMPORTANT but she won’t do the pass or score the goal that lifts the CL Did Fletcher play in CL final? No.

  19. Nev says:

    Last season when Fletcher came in he was often our best player! The guy is beginning to show why Fergie rated him so highly as a kid, he’s not great infront of goal unfortunately, but his strengths lie elsewhere. No one works as hard as him, (ok maybe Tevez) he runs so much its no wonder he has the physique of a long distance runner! I dont think people realise the importance of this attribute, he gives the opposition NO TIME at all to breathe let alone think. Fabregas didnt like it thats for sure! (happy days) Next time he’s in midfield just watch how many stray passes the opposition make or how often he wins the ball back by snapping at their heels. I think if he was given more opportunities we’d see him progress much faster, and we’d regret it if we let him go as we’d see how good he would become. He’s going to be a top player in a couple of years Im sure.

  20. Stephen says:

    Did he score 2 and was MOM against Arsenal in the FA cup last season?

  21. Paul says:

    I agree with Nev, some players develop slower then others, and not all players are there for the glory and the style, otherwise we would get hammered every week. The point about getting at the opponent is key and if you have ever had the privelige to watch Fergie take a training session, (from behind a fence) he sreams at midfielders to be faster to the man and shut the options down. No wonder he likes Fletch. Well said Nev, does anyone agree with Steve?

  22. Stephen says:

    I can see his point, but O’shea and Fletch are important. It is a squad game and I would rather have those two in our squad than two jonny foreigners, who don’t care about United.

  23. Nev says:

    Too right Stephen….a concept lost on francenal fans….

  24. jhunt says:

    Yes he’s important. If only for the fact that his hard work and no nonsense attitude on and off the field make him a threat to our more established players. They work harder in training and in games knowing that a sub-par performance can see them lose their place in the team.

  25. Kunal says:

    he is important and will be important if tht homegrowm players rule came into effect… he should be played more in CL group stages when the opposition is not tht g8 but still can give him tht experience…Also in FA cup and league cup games… if he can bulk up and improve little more he can be very very useful who knows there are some players who blossom late in their career..

  26. Haydar says:

    Any player who plays his heart out for the team is important

  27. Tom F says:

    For all the people who find it easy to dismiss Darren Fletcher, you need to remember one thing. Manchester United is a team that always challenges on all fronts. To do so and to do so successfully we need a squad full of players who are competent and reliable as well as ready to be called upon when needed.

    We could have a Berbatov, an Anelka and Nistelrooy but when these ‘bigger’ players are left out they throw their toys about and sulk. Darren Fletcher is reliable. The same as John O’shea and even Wes Brown who has spent a long time as second favourite until Neville got injured. Yet look what his loyalty has done for us. Helped keep the best defense in the league and helped us win the double.

    He was signed as a trainee and has given everything for us when he is on the field. Our supporters need to give these types of players the credit they deserve. Park was always written off and he came back from injury with great performances, Saha was the same in 2005/06 season after always being injured.

    These players are not spectacular and do not seek the light like our Ronaldos or Wazza’s but they do the job and it is that type of character that Manchester Uniteds foundations have been built upon.

    Long may Fletch be a United player. good lad.

  28. Tom F says:

    Also those who write off the likes of Carrick when he has a bad patch. We need these players as they help keep the balance that separates United from the rest.

  29. Drew Vader says:

    all fletch haters can go watch our 7-1 thrashing of roma to see just what he is capable of doing. Totti was terrified to go anywhere near him and fletch’s tireless running and tackling and breakin up play is what gave carrick the freedom to inch forward a bit so he could score the first that got the ball rolling.

    If he wants to go for a more established starting roll, then who could blame the lad? It would be the same as phil neville or nicky butt leaving, who both have been successful after they left. Fletch could be adored by a mid level team for his contribution. But until he puts in a transfer request, i say we hold on to him. And maybe give him a few more starts here and there if he stays away from the injuries.

  30. azza says:

    dnt rate him at all, hold my breath everytime he has the ball, too weak, hasnt got anything great about him, carrick can pass, hargo hassles, anderson dribbles, scholes is a legend, fletcher has no strong points he average at everything, rather have palacios from wigan!

  31. jimmy Bob says:

    Fletcher great club man, great backup keep him guys like him are worth their weight in gold to any team

  32. KingOfZamunda says:

    azza-you’d rather have palacios?? A guy who has had one good season at a crap club, big fish small pond syndrome, and you’d prefer him over Fletch?? You short of something in between your ears???

    And as for Red Steve- you muppet.

    Fletch, Wesley, O’Shea- they’re essential to the squad, O’shea has played every position for United when called upon, that timeless display in goal against Spurs being most noteworthy, him nutmegging Figo, THAT goal he scored against Arsenal a few seasons ago!! Fletch is a big game player and isn’t a moaner and leaves nothing on the bench when he comes on, his passing is a bit wayward at times as is his crossing but then again he picks out some peaches. As for Wesley- just check out the season he just had. Some of our Manc faithful are a bit blind to our less glamorous players and talk out of their arses!

  33. Tom F says:

    haha. Glad I haven’t recieved the WrathOfZamunda!

    Totally agree with you mate.. am going to dig out Sheasys goal against Arsenal right now! Quality.

  34. Just1n says:

    I agree with Zamunda. Most ‘fans’ only want world class , glory boy players at the club and totally forget that it’s a team sport. I rate Fletch and honestly I sometimes wish that Scholes and Giggs get less playing time so that players like Fletch and Park can get more. No disrespect to the legends thats just how i feel.

  35. syezri says:

    answering the question, YES.,i think fletcher is important to united. he never complained about playing less than others. and when he played, he will give all he have although clearly, he is not as good as anderson, carrick or even park. however, on his day, he can be a star performer, just look at the match against arsenal last year

  36. KingOfZamunda says:

    Where the haters at then?? Sheesh!

    FLETCH>FABREGAS!!!!!!!!!

  37. jta82united says:

    ive never seen this guy make a pass to his own team, ever! every pass of his is interecepted. he is only on the team since ferguson is a scot as well… ive never liked him.

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