Is this Darren Fletcher’s year? Paul Scholes is getting up there in age, the ‘Ginger Prince’s red hair perhaps getting a touch of gray, and it’s probably a bit more difficult for him to get out of bed after a game on Sunday and then a Champions League mid week match. Manchester has to start to look for players to replace their standby soldiers.
For Manchester United, they’ve always had quality roles player who come in and play big when they’re needed. With the slew of games they play through the year, they have to have a strong roster behind just their first eleven. Fletcher is someone who’s got the talent to be more than just a role player, yet he hasn’t quite made the transition. He’s been a bit like Fletch, posing as one person and then another, not yet showing the Giggs like consistency.
However, Fletcher is off to a good start this season, with two goals in just two games to help Manchester United while Cristiano Ronaldo recovers from an ankle injury, this could be his year indeed. And they will need him, the other big four are adding more players while Manchester hasn’t loaded up much.
At 24 years old Darren Fletcher doesn’t have a wallet full of different masked characters like Fletch. He’s a bit more even keeled. Really, he needs to up his tempo and show that he wants to run the show.
And although he's young, he’s worn the Manchester 175 times. The question is though, is he or could he be a key face for Manchester United this year and beyond? Is he in the mold of Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, or Roy Keane? A solid figure who can steer the ship. It may be too early to call. He’s got to get more runs on the pitch, and this year he might if he continues to play as he has been. Sure, there’s Anderson, Hargreaves, and Carrick, but if he’s scoring goals, can you leave him off?
He’s battled quite a lot at Manchester United, as all those player do, who are just exceptional on an even more exceptional team. Where great players have to spend time on the bench or go through patches where they’re not logging in as many minutes as they think they deserve. There’s no set rotating system and players get on streaks and then you can’t take them off. Then there was a knee injury late in the season in a friendly match when he played for Scotland. He hasn’t wasted any time though, regaining his form quickly this season and there's a new contract is in the works.
David Moyes, the Everton manager, thought that he might be able to entice the midfield player to Goodison Park this summer, having been alerted to his contract having less than 12 months to run, but Ferguson and David Gill, the United chief executive, are eager to secure him on a new four-year deal that is likely to mean an increase in his £30,000-a-week wage.
But as this video shows, Fletcher has had moments where he’s not the player he should be. When he’s not involved in the play, not putting his mark on the game.
Part of this is the difficulty of playing at Manchester United and not playing on a regular basis, day in and day out. You can get rusty, but if you can learn to come on and perform no matter what, even if you haven’t playing in a few weeks, then you’re set to do big things in the EPL. The EPL is littered with players who didn’t secure starting positions at Manchester who are tearing up the league.
I think Fletcher is on the verge of becoming a force within Manchester United. There are no disguises now, he’s settled. He’s got a new contract coming. He is scoring goals, and he’s got the whole season ahead of him.
He’s also been named captain of Scotland, a high honor for a young player. It’s in his hands now, does he want to help lead The Red Devils to another title or stay just a role player? I think he will, as long as he’s not attacked by another toilet door.