Fletcher reaches desired level
Darren Fletcher has revealed he is now playing at a level which he always strived to reach.
By Richard Bailey
Last Updated: 12/11/09 10:59am
Darren Fletcher has revealed he is now playing at a level which he always strived to reach when he first broke into the Manchester United side.
Big things have been expected of the 25-year-old ever since manager Sir Alex Ferguson tried to name him on the bench for the final league game of the season against Aston Villa in May 2000 when the Scotland international was just 16.
However, Fletcher has only really established himself in the Red Devils first team over the past two seasons with the midfielder restricted to the fringes up until then.
The Scot is now making up for lost time and after some stand-out displays in some of the biggest games Fletcher has become one of the first names on Ferguson's team-sheet completing an astounding turnaround.
"This is a level that I've been striving to reach," he told the Manchester Evening News.
"The way I am playing now, I'm the player I've always wanted to show people I could be. I'm not saying I've worked harder than anyone else, I've just tried to make sure I improve my game and things have really paid off.
"I'm enjoying everything at the moment because the team is successful. Last season was great, despite the disappointment of the Champions League final. [Fletcher was suspended causing many to suggest that the 2-0 scoreline against Barcelona may have been different had he played - further enhancing his reputation.]
"If you look back on what we achieved right throughout the season, it was fantastic. I played in a lot of big games and was given a consistent run.
Taking nothing for granted
"The most important thing for me this season has been to kick on and not sit back and take my place for granted.
"At United you're proving your worth every game, there's always someone who wants to take your shirt. That drives you on. I want to keep improving as a player, as I feel I have always done in every season I've been here."
Fletcher attributes his improved performances down to the fact that he is finally seeing his extra work in the gym pay off.
"Doing weights is a big thing for me now, whereas before it didn't seem to have much of an effect," he added
"But just because you're in the gym, that doesn't make you a great player. Fitness has never been a problem, but in terms of strength and power, my gym work has made a real difference.
"Striking the right balance is important. There would be no point in bulking up if that was to the detriment of being able to get around the pitch, which is a big part of my game.
"It's been a gradual progression for me, but I'm really enjoying myself and I want to continue for many more years to come."
Meanwhile, forgotten man Zoran Tosic insists he is not looking for a way out of the club despite making just four substitute appearances since signing from Partizan Belgrade in January.
The 22-year-old was tipped to be the long-term successor to Ryan Giggs on the left flank but the Serbian has slipped behind the likes of Nani, Antonio Valencia and Gabriel Obertan in the pecking order and has even been left out of United's European squad.
"I am doing my best to break through at United but there are many good wingers in the squad and all I can do is keep working hard and take every opportunity to play well," he said.
"I am not thinking about a move away from United because I am confident that I belong here and that if I am patient enough, I will be able to prove my worth and eventually break into the first-team.
"It would be easy to lose faith, get frustrated and make a hasty decision to go to another club, but I have joined one of the three biggest clubs in the world.
"On the other hand, I have to keep in mind that I need more first-team football to keep my place in the Serbia squad for next year's World Cup finals in South Africa.
"Time will tell, but I definitely want to stay."