Manchester United today confirmed that former player and academy graduate Darren Fletcher is returning to the club in a coaching roll.
Fletcher has been working with the U-16s in recent months and the club have announced that he will join Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s coaching staff.
Speaking to the official site, Fletcher spoke of his happiness at returning to the club that made him.
I’m delighted to be back and excited to work with the staff: Ole, Kieran, Carras, Mike Phelan and the rest of the coaches; the players, you know some fantastic players to work with at the beginning of my coaching journey. It’s a fantastic opportunity and I’m just delighted to finally be in today, my first day in a new job today. I spoke to Ole a couple of weeks ago and it’s finally getting things sorted to come in today. It’s been a unique experience. I’ve been a player but now I’m on the side, on the coaching staff, so it’s a little bit different. I’m buzzing and cannot wait to get started.
Fletcher joined United when he was just 11-years-old and went on to make 342 appearances for the first team. Sadly, his career at the top was caught short due to ulcerative colitis. He spent two seasons barely playing a game before leaving for West Brom midway through the 2014-15 season.
He spent the final two years at Stoke before retiring in 2019. He later reflected on his sadness over leaving United.
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.