Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Fletcher: United will pull together

Wayne Rooney

Darren Fletcher has led the defence of his Manchester United team-mates against Wayne Rooney's allegations that they are not good enough for him.

As one of the players believed to have been targeted by Roy Keane in 2005 during his infamous interview with MUTV that was so explosive it was never screened and, within a month, had heralded the Irishman's exit from Old Trafford, Fletcher is acutely aware of the impact Rooney's astonishing declaration made on Wednesday night.

He said: "There will be moments when we are down. There will be disappointments. Strength of character comes from how you respond to them; how you react to the challenge. If anything, it should galvanise the squad because we all need to come together. The fans need to trust us and get behind the team."

He added: "You have to accept big players and big stars move on at every club,

"Fans don't like to hear that or see it happen. But it is part of modern-day football. We should all remember what a big club Manchester United is. The biggest in the world.

"High-profile players have left in the past but the club itself just keeps going."

Fletcher was just 21 when Keane was said to have ranted that he "did not know why people raved" about the Dalkeith-born player.

Five years on, having made over 250 appearances for the Old Trafford outfit and now recognised as one of the most forceful box-to-box midfielders in the Premier League, Fletcher is one of those who will be expected to carry United through their crisis.

"You almost fall into the role because you have been here for so long," he admitted. "I know what the club is about. I have been through challenging situations before and the experience helps. You know what advice to give to young players to make them concentrate on the pitch.

"That is what you must do above all else in these situations. As players we cannot control anything apart from that. We have a good bunch of lads. I know that because I work with them in the dressing room every day."

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