Darren Fletcher has confirmed that he feels ready to play at Wembley, if selected by the manager.
“I feel ready to play,” said Fletcher. “I have had a couple of reserve games, which I have found even more difficult because other people are trying to make an impression. It was important to get 90 minutes today ahead of the big game next weekend but now it is not for me to decide. All you can do is your best. The lads who got us there have done really well, so the manager has a lot of decisions to make. We have a big squad, everyone is fit and there is competition for places on the bench.”
Many people believe that the 2009 final could have been different, if Fletch hadn’t cruelly missed out after he was incorrectly sent off in the semi-finals against Arsenal. He was so important then and always showed up for the big games.
This season has been different, with Fletch missing out on the last three months of the season because of a virus. After recovering from the illness, he then had to work hard at putting on the weight he had lost.
However, even before his illness, Fletch hasn’t been anywhere near as effective for us this season. You couldn’t fault his work rate but his end product consistently wasn’t good enough.
We’ve used our squad well this season but there have been several players who have been key to us progressing to the final. The starting XI seems to pick itself based on that, particularly in midfield and up front. It’s hard to see past Park, Giggs, Carrick, Valencia, Rooney and Chicharito.
However, in 2008, Sir Alex Ferguson revealed that he would pick Paul Scholes for sentimental reasons after he missed out on the final in 1999.
Fletch was in the squad but didn’t play in 2008, was unfairly ruled out in 2009, so would Ferguson be tempted to put Darren in the midfield and drop Chicharito?
Only time will tell…