Fletcher Should Move On And Become A Star Again


Illness and fitness issues have stalled Darren Fletcher’s Manchester United career. Unfortunately Old Trafford isn’t the best place for convalescence, especially during this challenging time for the club.

The Scot has only managed forty-nine appearances for United in the last three and a half seasons due to ulcerative colitis.

At the minute he is watching from the sidelines with the likes of Michael Carrick, Ander Herrera, Daley Blind and Marouane Fellaini playing ahead of him.

In fairness to the Man Utd coach Louis van Gaal, the Scottish midfielder has looked out of sorts and off the pace whenever he’s started this campaign. He still needs to be edged in gently and at the moment United’s constant need for points has meant they can’t afford to give Fletcher minutes just to build up his fitness and confidence.

The midfielder has also lost his guaranteed starting spot with the Scottish national team as they challenge for a qualifying spot for Euro 2016. That said, a fully fit Fletcher would be a very welcome addition for boss Gordon Strachan and his ‘Tartan Army’ side.

Darren only has six months left on his contract with the ‘Red Devils’ and this January has seen the man from Dalkeith linked with moves away from Manchester.

West Ham, West Brom, Celtic and Spanish cracks Valencia have all been linked with either a loan or permanent switch for the sixty-six capped star.

I doubt the thirty year old will move back up to Scotland at this juncture. Yes Fletcher was a boyhood Celtic fan but he can command a bigger wage packet in England or La Liga. I’d also imagine that the thought of playing in the Scottish Premiership every week wouldn’t really excite the central midfielder.

So that leaves either one of the EPL sides or Valencia.

Well before I offer my opinion on who he should join, given the opportunity, I thought I should say that I probably wouldn’t currently sign a permanent contract to leave Old Trafford just yet. I’d be more eager to leave on a loan deal initially.

My reasoning?

Well as I’ve already stated, Fletcher has had a tough tine of it as of late. His illness can be inflamed when the sufferer is feeling particularly stressed. I believe moving football clubs would be quite a stressful experience. By moving for just six months in a bid to regain some belief and fitness would be the mind-set that I would go for at this moment in time. If all turns out well then you could then make the deal a full time thing or maybe even sign a new deal with Man Utd. Plus lets not forget that Fletcher has been a one club man so far in his career. To just up and leave his home mid season would be a huge step.

Ok so which club should he sign for?

Well for me it has to be Valencia.

Fletcher would be following a long line of great Scots who have departed the British isles in need of a warmer climate to help overcome illness. For example, ‘Treasure Island’ author Robert Louis Stevenson went to the French Riviera to recuperate after his health had failed him.

In relation to football, former Scotland captain Graeme Souness left a dominant Liverpool side in 1984 to join Italian club Sampdoria at the age of thirty-one. The Scots hardman enjoyed two seasons in Serie A and he picked up a Coppa Italia winners medal.

Those stories should inspire ‘Fletch’. The warmer climate should help with his illness, surely all those that have emigrated away from the UK had this sole reason to leave. Plus the Souness story shows that players leaving top English clubs can still learn and improve on foreign shores.

For me, the midfield man still has a lot to offer. At his peak he was a strong combative player who can sit in the engine room and help harry opposing players and win the ball back for his own side. He also offers up smart runs at set-pieces and has the canny knack of getting vital goals for his side.

His main strengths are fitness, intelligence and determination. The only component he’s currently missing from that set is fitness. A move to Valencia, currently sitting in fifth spot, could see a new spring in Fletcher’s step and hopefully he can once again rediscover his form of yesteryear when he was always key when Sir Alex Ferguson plotted victories against the toughest of rivals.

Also lets not forget that another Scotsman, assistant manager Ian Cathro, is also currently plying his trade at the Mestalla stadium on Spain’s south coast.

I really hope Darren Fletcher can find first-team football somewhere and once again become a strong stalwart in the middle of the park. If that turns out to be in Spain then all the better, us Scots love a sunny adventure.

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