The extracts on this page are taken from selected national newspapers. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Manchester United.
Timely return of Fergie’s big game hunter
For the ultimate ‘big game’ player it was a relatively low-key return. But for Darren Fletcher last night’s Capital One Cup third round tie with Newcastle was as momentous as any in his career. Starting a match for the first time since November 2011, it was an occasion that many feared would never come when it was revealed last year that he was battling to overcome ulcerative colitis. In his darkest moments, Fletcher too must have questioned if a career that has already defied the odds would come to a premature end. No matter then that he was playing in a competition Sir Alex Ferguson usually reserves for blooding his youngsters or stretching the legs of fringe players. And who cares if there were swathes of empty seats inside Old Trafford for a match that had clearly failed to capture the imagination of supporters. As far as Fletcher was concerned, last night was always going to be about much more than a game of football.
The Guardian reports how Ryan Tunnicliffe's debut for United as a 77th-minute substitute in the 2-1 Capital One Cup win over Newcastle won his father, Mick, a bet worth £10,000. When the fledgling midfielder, now 19, was nine his father had placed the wager that his son would one day play for United, taking the odds of 100-1 with a £100 bet.
Elsewhere, the Daily Mail links the Reds with a January bid for PSV midfielder Kevin Strootman, after he was apparently given the green light for a move away from Holland in the New Year. “Strootman has had a good time in Eindhoven, but he decided that he wants to prove himself in a better league,” his agent Chiel Dekker told the Dutch media. “If an agreement is able to be reached with a potentially interested club, PSV will allow Kevin to leave in January.”