After spending the majority of the last two campaigns on the sidelines at Manchester United due to an illness, Darren Fletcher returned to Premier League action last December as a substitute in the 3–0 win against Aston Villa.
With the absence of a composed central midfielder at Old Trafford still a looming issue in David Moyes’s agenda, many expected the United boss to splash the cash on the likes of Claudio Marchisio or Ilkay Gundogan over the course of the January transfer window.
But with Moyes claiming it unlikely new signings will arrive due to the unavailability of key targets at the moment, Manchester United will most likely have to battle for a top four position over the course of the remainder of the season with their current squad.
In December, Fletcher made two substitute appearances before starting against Hull City, but it was his return to football after fighting an illness called ulcerative colitis that made the headlines rather than his decent performances.
But after Cleverley failed to impress against Tottenham in the first game of 2014, Moyes decided to put his faith in the midfield partnership of Carrick – Fletcher against Swansea on Saturday that was the core of Alex Ferguson’s midfield just a few years ago.
While it was Carrick that was expected to run the show, it was actually Darren Fletcher that surprised everyone with a fantastic outing that could only remind us of the classy Scottish midfielder that enthused fans at the Theatre of Dreams a few years back.
In Manchester United’s 2–0 victory, it was Fletcher who impressed with a passing completion rate of 93%, neatly organizing possession while at the same time tallying three key interceptions.
Adnan Januzaj may have gotten the plaudits for inspiring the attacking formation with his flair and creativity, Darren Fletcher must be recognized as the quiet hero that played a key part in United’s important victory over the Swans that slightly eased the pressure off manager David Moyes, with United now only four points off the top four.
If Fletcher continues to impress as he did on Saturday, Manchester United’s top four hopes will certainly gain a massive boost, and supporters will feel relieved that the likes of Cleverley and Anderson will not have to be forced into the squad as the only other fit central midfielders at the club to partner Carrick.
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