Darren Fletcher has been appointed as Manchester United’s new technical director.
Fletcher rejoined United as a first-team coach in January but the MEN revealed in May 2019 the former midfielder attended a high-profile meeting as part of the club’s proposed restructure.
The 37-year-old’s remit will be to offer ‘technical input and direction into all football and performance areas’, having spent recent matches working with the club’s analysts.
Ferguson admitted that the Scot was a huge favourite of his, especially for big matches.
“I love the guy; he is a fantastic professional,” Ferguson said in 2017.
“I always liked to play him in big games. He is a big-game player. In his later years at United, he had to deal with his medical condition and that says a lot about the man. The will and sacrifices he made for his social life were phenomenal.
“He never gave in. He must have played with that condition for a year without my notice.”
Ferguson and Flecther’s tight-knit relationship was picked up by several of his teammates, including Rio Ferdinand, while Gary Neville and Paul Scholes felt the all-action midfielder never got the respect he deserved.
“He must’ve actually been in one of our group chats we had last night with a few of the old United players,” Ferdinand joked on BT Sport in 2017.
“Darren Fletcher was Sir Alex Ferguson’s pet. He was round the house for Sunday lunch and stuff, or so I’m told! I never saw it, but that’s the rumours. Fletch never got a b********* ever.
“Fletcher understood he was the teacher’s pet, yeah.”
For Scholes and Neville, his qualities on the field shone through, with both players regarding him as an underappreciated figure during United’s success between 2006 and 2010.
“First of all, Fletch is a great lad. He was a very popular figure in the United dressing room,” Scholes wrote in an Independent column.
“There was no nonsense from him. He said what he thought to people. He would take the mickey out of anyone. He got on with his team-mates. Most of all he was an excellent footballer.
“No one at United got a free ride – not even if you happened to be Sir Alex Ferguson’s only Scottish player.
“I would say that Fletch’s greatest asset is his ability to get around the pitch. He has the strength and the speed to get to the opposition player in possession and win the ball. I really enjoyed playing with Fletch.
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“He is technically excellent, he can read the game and he is a superb team player. He never plays for himself. He did what was right for his team and got the best out of the players around him.
“For a good few years, he became central to what the team did and there were so many Champions League nights when he was important to us. He played very well in the run to the 2009 final and was then suspended for the game in Rome. “
Neville agreed, answering “Fletcher” when asked in a recent Q&A who the most underrated player he played with was.