Former Manchester United manager David Moyes has admitted that midfielder Darren Fletcher was one of the players who surprised him most at Old Trafford.
Moyes, who was sacked after just ten months in charge of the Red Devils last April, claims Fletcher was a model-professional who was “great” to have around the dressing room.
Fletcher left Manchester United after 20 years with the club - his combined time as a youth and professional - at the beginning of February, completing a free transfer to West Brom, where he was instantly installed as club captain by manager Tony Pulis.
Moyes: Fletcher is a superb person and player
And Moyes, who is currently in the process of rebuilding his reputation with Real Sociedad, can understand why Pulis handed the Scotland international the captain’s armband.
“Darren is a superb person and a great footballer,” Moyes told the Scottish Sun. “I had the pleasure of working with him and he was an even better player than I thought.
“He was great in the dressing room, trustworthy and he had the best interests of the club at heart. His health problems were well documented but he never once complained.”
Fletcher struggled earlier this season
Fletcher made a total of 18 appearances for United under Moyes and impressed on the club’s pre-season tour of the United States last summer under Louis van Gaal.
The 31-year-old, however, struggled during the opening weeks of the current Premier League campaign and barely featured for the Red Devils after that.
Van Gaal’s decision to demote Fletcher to the club’s third-captain - with Michael Carrick replacing the Scot as vice-captain to Wayne Rooney - was another clear sign that the central midfielder’s time at Old Trafford was effectively over.
Fletcher was granted permission to leave United on a free transfer in the winter - and eventually completed a last-gasp move to the Hawthorns after negotiations with West Ham unexpectedly collapsed.
Fletcher deserves tremendous credit
Now a former Manchester United player, Fletcher hasn’t missed a single minute of West Brom’s previous seven league fixtures and is currently doing his utmost to ensure the Baggies aren’t dragged into the relegation dogfight.
Fletcher always showed great professionalism during his spell with Manchester United and, furthermore, displayed unbelievable character to bounce back from the debilitating bowel disease that kept him out of action for the best part of two years.
He will always hold a special place in the hearts of the United faithful, much in the same way other long-serving professionals including the likes of Wes Brown and John O’Shea will.
Manchester United fans: was Louis van Gaal right to offload Darren Fletcher last month? Have your say in the comments below!