Darren Fletcher says he is flattered at the thought he could replace Gary Neville as a role model for Manchester United's young players.

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes the Scotland midfielder has it in him, along with others, to take on that mantle now that Neville has retired. Like Neville before him, Fletcher has climbed the ladder at Old Trafford after heading south as a young boy to become an increasingly influential figure.

Fletcher said: "It is a big responsibility because Gary is a fantastic leader and United have had a lot of them. Even now we have Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic. It's great to have a group like that."

He added: "The more leaders and winners you have in the dressing room the more it helps you on the pitch and helps Manchester United move forward.

"When you are young, you're quiet, because you've got all these great characters and leaders around you. But the more experience you get and the longer you're at the club you find your voice.

"You find yourself passing on advice to younger players. It's almost a transition into that role. We have a great mix in the squad and hopefully something I can add something as well."

Looking at those who can offer leadership, Ferguson said: "Players like John O'Shea, Darren Fletcher and Rio Ferdinand have integrated into the club and value that family atmosphere.

"They are approachable to the young players because I see that as an important role for all players. If they can play out that part they are going to help young players not just settle, but to be looked after in the right way."

Fletcher has nothing but respect for Neville and thanked the full-back for helping him progress, adding: "It's a fantastic achievement to have the success that he has had and to be at one club for as long as he was. All the lads, not just me personally, are sad to see him go because he is such a great leader and captain.

"He always wanted the best for the players and for Manchester United. He put personal glory aside because he always wanted to achieve success for the team. I've learned a lot from Gary, as all the players have. He's a real inspiration to all of the squad."

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Topics:
Sunderland
Ryan Giggs
Football
John O'Shea
Premier League
Alex
Manchester United
Nemanja Vidic
Darren Fletcher
Paul Scholes
Gary Neville
Rio Ferdinand