Ok, so not everyone, but when Darren Fletcher’s name is read out at Old Trafford I have heard on a number of occasion some very loud groans ring around the ground. I’ve always liked the lad although I would agree that he is no where near the technical level of Scholes or will have have the influence of Keane in the center of the Park, but to be honest – you’d have to be a pretty special player to have any of the attribute that those two players have/had. Fletcher is a good professional who played in 24 games this season for the Reds and chipping in with two goals – both coming against Arsenal in the FA Cup. I ask this question in response from today’s speculation that Everton are interested in signing the player.
Who could forget Fletcher’s mammoth performance against Roma in the 7-1 thrashing last season. This Roma side were no mugs, as shown in the 2-1 victory over United in the first leg. Fletcher played his heart out, giving Di Rossi and Pizarro no space in which to operate in. Then there was the last game at Highbury at the start of 2006. Even though the sides were involved in a surprisingly dire 0-0 draw, Fletcher was MOTM, out playing the maturing Fabregas in the process. His positional play and drive helped prolong the career of Roy Keane, who in the autumn of his career from 2003 onwards appreciated the three in midfield United played. You may argue that this formation was forced upon due to an injury to Ruud VanNistelrooy for a major part of the 2004/05 season and also the influence of Carlos Queiroz, but I generally felt that Fergie was really impressed with the young Scot.
Would I pick Fletcher over Anderson, Carrick or Hargreaves? No, I wouldn’t, but that doesn’t mean that Fletcher cannot play a part in next season as a squad rotation player – without getting the criticism that he does at times. My first choice midfield would be (from right to left) Ronaldo, Scholes, Carrick, Giggs. Now looking at that midfield – Ronaldo’s future is uncertain and will miss the start of the season due to his recovery from ankle surgery. Scholes will not play every game and on evidence of his recent injury record it wouldn’t surprise me if he did miss a number of games due to this. Carrick, although I believe is a top class footballer, does suffer from bouts of confidence loss – which can get the crowd on his back. He is maturing into a brilliant midfielder who, with a little bit more self belief, can really start to dominate football matches with his passing and composure. However, Carrick’s sublime passing will be enhanced by the terrier like running and shutting down Fletcher does, which was so evident in the 5-1 demolishing of Newcastle last season. Lastly, the most decorated player in the club’s history – Giggsy. Who at the age of 34 (35 in November) is approaching the winter of his career and as the gaffer showed this season, will use Giggs sparingly – or when it rains, as he quoted, last term like the Welsh man was a race horse. Combine this with Anderson on international duty at the Olympics and Ji-Sung Park still maybe lacking that match sharpness from injury (although I think he’s been brilliant since back). This leaves Owen Hargreaves, Nani and John O’shea – so you can see how Fletcher is needed in the side as a squad player. As mentioned many times since 1999 – a big squad of quality is essential to succeed both domestically and in Europe. Darren Fletcher is a good footballer and is a valuable part of United’s team. Although not a first team starter for me, he is a valuable substitute and confident performer when called upon to play in any game, including the big guns.
So do you think United should sell Darren Fletcher? If so why do you not think he is good to be part of the United squad? Am I too defensive over a mediocre player? Lastly, if he did leave how well do you think he would do for Everton and what type of transfer fee would he command? Looking forward to your comments.