After completing an hour of reserve team football on Wednesday night against Blackburn in a 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford.
Manchester United’s midfield terrier, Darren Fletcher faces a race against time to get himself fully fit for the European Cup Final on 28th May at Wembley.
If he is able to convince the manager in the next two Premier League games starting at Blackburn on Saturday that he is ready to face the world’s best central midfield pairing in Xavi and Iniesta then I think he is certain to be given a place in the starting XI. The man that was robbed of a Champions League Final start in 2009 by wrongly receiving a 75th minute red card at the Emirates Stadium with the game dead and buried at 4-0 on aggregate. Even though replays showed him making clear contact with the ball the decision was not overturned by UEFA. Instead we went to Rome and were heavily over run in the middle of the park without his energy and bite to try and stop the fluid passing game that Barcelona tore us to pieces with.
Cast your minds back if you will to 1999, (that shouldn’t be too difficult for most) and remember a certain ginger haired play-maker missing out on a Champions League Final. Scholes would have to wait a little longer than the 2 years Fletcher may have to wait. But justice was served in the end as Scholes finally got his European Cup final night to remember, the sentiment shown by Sir Alex was there for all to see, karma had been served as John Terry slipped and United won the double in the Moscow rain!
The problem now is who can be left out of the team that’s been deployed on the big European nights over the past few months? Surely you’d think that the Rooney and Chicharito partnership that has worked so well for us wouldn’t be broken.
That would then leave only 2 central midfield spots up for grabs! Firstly there’s Michael Carrick who has been Man of the Match in most European games this season. His ‘keep it simple’ approach and retaining possession has been invaluable at times! Park is another player that Sir Alex seems to favour every time a big game is next on the fixture list, and although he has his critics I don’t remember a game in recent times at least, that the little South Korean has disappointed. Not to forget Giggs’ big game performances from the centre of midfield, making all 3 goals in the Chelsea tie, and breaking the deadlock away in Shalke are just a few that spring to mind from the Welshman.
For me the 4 that will be contending those 2 all important midfield positions will be Giggs, Carrick, Fletcher and Park with Rooney dropping in to help out and keep Busquets quiet. All I can say is I’m glad we have the best football manager ever to walk the earth to make this almost impossible selection!