FOOTBALL NEWS

20/11/2012 10:15, Report by Nick Coppack in Turkey
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Fletcher the father figure

Darren Fletcher is preparing to help Manchester United’s youngsters through what’s bound to be a memorable experience in Istanbul on Tuesday night.

At 28, the Scotland captain is far and away the Reds' most experienced player in the 21-man squad Sir Alex Ferguson selected for Tuesday’s Champions League Group H tie against Galatasaray.

With United already assured of knockout phase football, the manager left the likes of Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra and Robin van Persie in Manchester, opting instead to travel to Turkey with a squad laced with youth.

Indeed, of the 21 Reds in Istanbul, only Fletcher, Michael Carrick and Anderson have started more than 20 European games for United.

And Fletcher, who made his Reds debut in a Champions League match aged just 19, says he’ll gladly play father figure to the younger lads.

“I’m 28 and one of the most senior players in the squad,” he told MUTV. “But it’s a role I’m used to with Scotland – you talk to the younger players, give them encouragement.

“I appreciated that sort of thing when I was young. I had a little word in my ear – nothing much, you don’t want to force too much information – but I really appreciated those words of advice. Hopefully [these guys] will as well when I do it.

“We’re expecting a really hostile atmosphere. But if you want to play at this club you have to play in big matches and you have to experience and deal with atmospheres like the one we’re going to have here.”

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