Sunday, April 05, 2009

Keane's true Succesor - Darren Fletcher?

Its not very often that a hard working, rough and tumble, gritty midfielder, who can equally attack and defend plays for Manchester United, a club known for employing creative, attack minded, expansive midfielders, who run at defenses and tear holes in them with accurate passing from a variety of ranges. His work ethic, with or without the ball, is what makes him so important to the United side, especially against strong opposition. Against the "weaker" sides, with less "powerful" central midfields, we can deploy our creative, attacking, midfielders without too much thought to the consequences of lossing possession in central midfield, for which we have Vidic and Rio largely to thank for.

Against centrally strong midfields, like Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Newcastle, Tottenham and even City, we have a need to subdue and overpower opponents without playing a designated defensive midfielder behind two others, which would nullify our most potent weapons of width and speed. In the fast paced environment of the English Premier League, the ability to transisition between defence and attack and vice-versa is critical. This is where Fletcher stands head and shoulders above the rest of United's other central midfielders. While some are great visionaries, and can find gaps where there semmingly are none, and while othersare great with or without the ball at the feet, none of them combine these traits to the extent of Fletcher. True his range of passing may not yet equal Carrick or Anderson, and may not be able to weave past a handful of defenders like Giggs, or pick out a striker behind a wall of defenders like Scholes, he can do all of the above to a more than adequate level, making him very useful in games when all methods of attack and defence are needed to win games, and players need to be able to multitask without becoming a liability.

His ability to play a variety of roles, and do as the situation demands sets him apart from other midfield players in the Premier League. Its not often you see a midfielder play well as a right back and in the same game, go forward and get a goal, supporting the forwards. His ability to do suppress the "flair players" of opponents sets him apart from his club peers, and his ability to keep possession under pressure, and inturn apply pressure is crucial to the United style of attack. In short, he makes United tick, and our most balanced starting lineup should include him alongside Carrick in central midfield. At the age of 25, many United supporters think he's not good enough to keep a place in the 1st team, and that he'd be better off playing every week at a 'smaller' club. This season he has shown in matches, the improvement made in the off season, and the fact that he has added muscle mass to his frame makes him more competitive against the leagues' stronger players.

His finishing, defending and confidence "on the ball" have all improved this season, and United's title successes, in my opinion, relies more heavily on the performance of Fletcher and the other central midfielders, than it does on Ronaldo's wizardry.


  1. I'm sorry Vishnu, but there's no comparison between Keane and Fletcher. Roy Keane is a United legend and Fletcher will go down as little more than a footnote in the club's history.

    The fact is United are missing a true leader in midfield right now. No way would Keane have allowed Gerrard the freedom of Old Trafford as was the case recently.

    With that said and with the benefit of hindsight, I think Fletcher should have played against the Dirties.

  2. Keano and Fletch? No way man. However much I like Fletcher, he's no way what Keane was. Having said that, Fletcher has grown amazingly from when he first started out. He has this knack of coming good against the bigger teams, not scoring goals, but in general having a really good game. He should've been there in the lineup against the fools. I really would like him to get more games, but at United, you do have to be the best to get in games consistently.

  3. ok James, Crimscream, i'm not comparing their personalities, or their presence on the pitch, i'm simply making a statement that both Keane and Fletcher give United's midfield some really steel and strength. Keane is a legend, Fletcher could be a legend in the making. Even if Carrick has Keane's shirt number, Fletcher is the midfield enforcer, and keeps the side's engine running, just as Keane did. Keane was the perfect foil for Scholes, and Fletcher is the perfect foil for Carrick.

  4. Fletcher has been great for us this season...though I do believe his form has dipped since the new year...but definitely he will play an important role in the coming weeks and month..But I'm really looking forward to seeing a fully fit Owen Hargreaves next season alongside Carrick..and hope that turns out to be the best central midfield combination we've had for a while.


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