What Darren Fletcher has been doing since leaving Manchester United in 2015

Few players have embodied what it means to represent Manchester United better than Darren Fletcher.

The Scottish midfielder has enjoyed a long and successful career at Old Trafford, securing numerous trophies as a player before finally moving on to a role behind the scenes at the club after 20 years of being on the club’s books .

Now he has been promoted to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s coaching position for the first team, having initially worked with the club’s Under-16s. But what else has Fletcher done since leaving the club for the first time in 2015, and why is he back now?

Darren fletcher
Fletcher had a long career at United | Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

Former Scotland international and regular captain, Fletcher has made a name for himself as a reliable midfielder with Manchester United.

Born and raised north of the border, Fletcher played his youth football locally before being spotted by United, who signed him and brought him to academy when he was just 11 years old.

He was set to become the youngest player in club history when he was selected to the squad for the last day of the 1999/00 season, but a combination of Premier League rules and a Broken foot meant he had to wait until March 2003 to make his first-team debut.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson with Manchester United's Darren Fletcher
A young Fletcher with Sir Alex Ferguson | Jamie McDonald / Getty Images

Fletcher remained a central part of the United squad until 2010/11, in which time he was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a long-term condition that can cause major problems with the colon.

He remained on United’s books as he took long breaks from football to undergo surgery and recovery, but he eventually left the club in February 2015 after failing to return to contention.

The Scotsman left the club with 342 appearances for United to his name. He won five Premier League titles and played an important role in the 2007/08 Champions League triumph.

Darren fletcher
Fletcher has joined West Brom | Michael Regan / Getty Images

West Bromwich Albion won the race for Fletcher’s signing in February 2015, bringing the 31-year-old on a free transfer; and that was the change of scenery he needed to rediscover his mojo.

He made 15 appearances during the remainder of the 2014/15 season before appearing in all 38 games of 2015/16 and 2016/17 – something he never achieved with United and a record he didn’t. had failed to match since 2009/10. .

The expiration of Fletcher’s contract in 2017 saw the midfielder move to Stoke City, with whom he spent two years in the Premier League and in the league.

Stoke City v Brentford - Sky Bet Championship
Fletcher left Stoke in 2019 | Nathan Stirk / Getty Images

Fletcher left Stoke in the summer of 2019, and he quickly decided to start studying for his coaching badges, never officially ruling out a return to play.

However, the COVID-19 outbreak has effectively ended any hope of a return. Fletcher confessed to telling BBC Radio Scotland the illness meant he was a high-risk person, so a return to football seemed unlikely then.

After taking a break to focus on earning his badges and staying healthy, Fletcher returned to United in October 2020, taking on a role with the club’s Under-16 team while taking on duties as a expert on television and radio.

He clearly impressed enough to win a promotion to the senior squad in January 2021, with Solskjaer insisting that Fletcher “has United DNA in his veins and he knows exactly what it takes to be a Manchester player. United ”.

It remains to be seen whether or not Fletcher can help United’s crop achieve the same levels of success he’s enjoyed, but there’s no doubt he knows what it takes to be a winner.

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