Football

Fletcher recognition pleases Fergie

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Darren Fletcher returns to the Manchester United side on Tuesday night with Sir Alex Ferguson delighted his fellow Scot's industry is now receiving full acclaim.

For many years, the 25-year-old midfielder remained a peripheral figure at Old Trafford, with most fans questioning why he remained at the club, but over the past 18 months, the Dalkeith-born star has become one of the most influential members of Ferguson's squad.

"Most people now recognise Darren Fletcher as a big-game player," said Ferguson. "We have been aware of that for quite a while. Now he is getting an acceptance that he is a very important player for us."

Fletcher's absence was cited as the major reason for United's UEFA Champions League capitulation in Rome last May.

And the same assessment was made 10 days ago when Liverpool enjoyed a rare day of success in their miserable recent run.

Ferguson added: "Our fans see that he is a key player in major games. That has been very important to the lad because it gives him a confidence.

"He has been missed in some key games recently and yes, it is great to have the boy back."

Fletcher returns to face CSKA Moscow at Old Trafford knowing victory will ease United into the Champions League knock-out phase with two games to spare, allowing Ferguson to concentrate fully on the Premier League campaign, starting with Sunday's trip to Chelsea.

Nemanja Vidic and Ryan Giggs have already been ruled out, while there are also doubts over Dimitar Berbatov, who suffered a bang on his knee-cap against Blackburn on Saturday, and Wayne Rooney, who is celebrating the birth of his son Kai Wayne.

Another man who will definitely miss out is Rio Ferdinand, who was the victim of a stinging attack from former England coach Graham Taylor on Saturday.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Topics:
Ryan Giggs
Dimitar Berbatov
Football
Blackburn Rovers
Chelsea
Premier League
Alex
Manchester United
Nemanja Vidic
Darren Fletcher
Wayne Rooney
Liverpool
Rio Ferdinand
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