As Manchester United romped to a 3-0 win at Villa Park, there was an underlying feeling of satisfaction.
Of course there was a first league win in 5, a clean sheet, goals from the much maligned duo of Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley but the best part of the game was the return of Darren Fletcher.
Out of first team action since Boxing Day last year, the Scot saw his hard work pay off with a late introduction against Paul Lambert’s side.
David Moyes spoke of his delight post game, and claimed that Fletcher’s return was also a triumph for people who have suffered illness and it’s true, Fletcher’s return surpasses the scope of sport as a man was given another shot at his livelihood.
Back on field Fletcher won’t suddenly become the solution to our problems, the illness will have taken a lot out of him and at his age it is unlikely that he will get back to the player that was the scourge of Arsene Wenger a few years ago. But in his reserve showings and even yesterday afternoon he showed a capacity to play intelligent forward passes, the kind that have been missing at points during our season, and retain possession.
After the game he said:
“This is it, I’m back for good. This is hopefully the game which means I’m back now. I seem to have come through the setbacks and health issues and I’m thankful for that. It’s onwards and upwards now.
I always believed I would come back, I kept that mind-set. I think other people around me were trying to make me think otherwise, but I stayed strong and believed I would get back. I think that was the best way to approach the situation and I knew I was going to go through a lot, but the belief and determination was to get back… I’m still building up my fitness, but I don’t want to take it easy. I’ve done enough of that, and I want to be involved, to get us back to where I know we should be. I think that’s the biggest determination for me. It’s difficult watching when the lads are winning, but a lot more difficult when they’re not winning. I want to help as much as I can, I want to keep picking up minutes, even if it’s with the reserves. Ultimately, the goal is to play in the first team, to be a part of the plans, and to bring success back to Manchester United”.
Moyes is likely to ease him back into action slowly, using him sparingly, but if Fletcher can manage to remain fit this time United will benefit hugely from his presence.