There was a satisfied smile on the Manchester United bench when Paul Pogba got another winner at Fulham.
Darren Fletcher was one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s most loyal for ten years, and is now hardening the next generation of stars.
The former Scotland midfielder spent 20 years at Old Trafford and was reliable, solid, hardworking and intelligent.
Earlier this month, United announced that the 36-year-old had been promoted to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad, to help bring his extensive knowledge to the first team.
He spent three months back at United, where he had been helping youth teams and learning his trade.
Since starting his new role, he has worked with the other Pogba and United midfielders to push his game to the next level.
And he’s already getting rewards, with Pog beating the winners at Fulham and Burnley, and also offering a late chance to snatch victory over rival Liverpool on Sunday.
Fletcher helps the 27-year-old French World Cup winner improve the defensive side of his game.
Pogba has scored more rebounds than any of his midfield teammates, delivered more passes and made as many attacks as Fred since Fletcher was introduced as a first-team coach 18 days ago.
Not bad for a man who wanted to leave the club and was allegedly “unhappy and can no longer express himself,” according to his agent Mino Raiola.
Darren has the DNA of United running through his veins and knows exactly what it takes to be a Manchester United player.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
In the five games since Fletcher’s promotion to the Solskjaer squad, United have kept three clean sheets and conceded just three goals.
It has been a very popular date among the players and staff, especially his former teammate Pogba.
Fletcher left United in 2015 and spent two years with West Brom, before playing another two with Stoke until retiring in 2019 at the age of 35.
He had no intention of going into training when he hung up his boots after several health issues.
But he has fallen in love with his new role after returning to United in October.
The head of the table, Ole, has hailed the appointment of his former teammate.
Solskjaer, 47, said: “Darren has United’s DNA running through his veins and he knows exactly what it takes to be a Manchester United player.
“He is at the beginning of his career as a coach and his experience on and off the pitch, along with his winning mindset, commitment and hard work, will be a great addition to the staff.”
It is understood that Fletcher now plans to become a manager someday, with his dream of taking over the first job at his beloved Old Trafford.
Another old teammate, former United striker Dimitar Berbatov, believes the former midfielder is the perfect coach for Pogba and Co.
Betfair ambassador Berbatov said: “First, he was the son of the chief, for sure.
“They were both Scottish. Second, he was very strong in attacks.
“It was amazing. He was thin, but he wasn’t afraid to put that body on the line, attack, and get in people’s faces.
“I would defend and do the dirty work. That was Fletch.
“It was necessary for the team. It ran all day, it was amazing.
“This kind of thing could benefit Pogba with the presence of Fletch.
“He was the kind of guy who talked to you, who gave you advice if you needed it.
“I looked at him closely against Burnley and he was a different Pogs.
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“I ran on the field and fought, I lost the ball and I ran back.
“If all this continues, everyone will benefit.
“The goal he scored was the reward for everything he did in the game.”
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