Darren Fletcher has confessed that he was close to leaving Old Trafford in the summer.
United midfielder thought about United exit in the summer
Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher has confessed that he was close to leaving Old Trafford in the summer.
The Scotland international met with manager Sir Alex Ferguson at the end of last season after a frustrating campaign which brought about just 10 starts.
The 25-year-old went with the intention to discuss a possible transfer but left having agreed to sign a new three-year deal and from then on he has not looked back.
Fletcher surpassed the number of starts he accumulated last term by late October and has amassed 26 appearances in all competitions to date.
With injuries to Paul Scholes, Michael Carrick, Owen Hargreaves and Anderson at different stages of the season Fletcher has been the mainstay in the United midfield, something which he couldn't have envisaged in the summer.
"It was a difficult summer," he told the Manchester Evening News
"I had that ambition first and foremost but at the same time, I didn't want to tie myself into a long contract if I was only going to be playing for 10 games a season.
"I didn't want to see that as my future. I am not a youngster anymore. That is all right when you are 18 or 19.
"It's okay picking up games then and getting experience but at my age now I really needed to be playing the majority of games.
"People might say you are silly and that if United are offering you a contract why are you thinking about going.
"People were telling me I'd be stupid to go, but I am a footballer and I want to play. So I had a decision that was right for me and my family.
"I didn't want to be going home to my girlfriend in a bad mood because I hadn't been playing. You have to sit down and think about your future sometimes.
"Although it's great to be at United and winning things you also want to feel as though you have done something and played a big part in achieving that success.
"You don't want to just go along for the ride and scraping enough games together to get a medal. But it is hard to let go at United.
"The manager and me spoke about it. I only had a year left on my contract so I had a big decision to make.
"The boss assured me I was needed and I was a vital asset and there were different qualities I could bring to the midfield.
"Of course there wasn't a guarantee that I would definitely play more matches. He cannot guarantee you that, but I just thought I'd give it another go. I believe I can do it and that is my attitude. It was a good decision."
After agreeing to stay and fight for his place Fletcher knew he had to add another aspect to his game and he now feels all the hard work is beginning to pay off.
"I felt I had to add something to my game. I realised that going out and doing okay wasn't good enough," he added.
"For one I felt I had to add a threat to my game. I took it upon myself to do that and be a little more selfish and get into the box.
"I have scored four goals this year and I aim to get more. This season I have made a conscious effort to get into the box and get more goals.
"I just wanted to add different things. I wanted to run harder, get in more tackles and improve all aspects.
"I have improved my physique for instance. I have put five kilos on with the gym work I have been doing. It is a big improvement and I am feeling the benefit."