Date:Thursday July 17 2008
Darren Fletcher has once again reiterated his intention to stay at Old Trafford, unless told by the club that he's surplus to requirements.
Fletch played a part but quite a little part in United's Double triumph last season and it would not be a huge shock if he clamoured for a move in hope of regular first-team football. Yet the 24-year-old midfielder is hoping to stay and striving to achieve his goals at Old Trafford, in the face of speculation linking him with Everton and his boyhood favourites Celtic.
'The speculation does not get on my nerves,' he told MUTV. 'At this time of year, people make news out of nothing. You learn to deal with that here.'
'The most important thing is to remain focused on Manchester United unless anyone tells you otherwise that is what you do.'
Now, as the Ronaldo-saga unfolds, there is much talk about loyalty and what it means in football. I do not wish to elaborate on Ronaldo - I'd rather focus on Fletcher whose loyalty has gone largely unnoticed though I firmly believe it should not.
Certainly, one may argue that Fletcher hasn't got a chance of stepping up the ladder with a move but as United are Premiership champions and Champions League winners, the same can be said about all of our players... Fletcher would have a valid reason for wanting a move: the lure of regular first-team football which he would surely get at a slightly smaller club.
Of course it's no hardship to stay at United under Sir Alex Ferguson but it's still a very courageous decision from Fletch: after all, with Anderson emerging he's by no means assured of more opportunities. But he has little to lose: after all, he's still got time and if he won't earn more chances he could still leave in two or three years' time.
But I'd like to point out - though I might be accused of being sentimental - that the club and especially Sir Alex stood by him when he received plenty of criticism from the likes of me and it certainly seems he tries to pay it back to United.
Date:Thursday July 17 2008
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|Man Utd||3||-||0||Hull City|
|Man Utd||1||-||0||Crystal Palace|
|2. Man City||16||11||3||2||+19||36|
|3. Man Utd||16||9||4||3||+12||31|
|4. West Ham||16||8||4||4||+8||28|
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