Darren Fletcher's take on United's playmakers
Manchester United great Darren Fletcher believes Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes can adapt and play in the same midfield together.
The Scot, who appeared on Friday’s MUTV Group Chat to discuss a range of topics relating to the current United team and his own career, added that the pair may need to make sacrifices in their own game to allow the team as a whole to thrive.
Fletcher cited his own experience of having to make allowances in order to fit around a number of players, including the likes of Paul Scholes, Roy Keane and Michael Carrick, in the Reds’ engine roo during his silverware-laden spell at Old Trafford.
“Without doubt, of course. Great players can come together,” the 36-year-old said, when asked if Pogba and Fernandes could gel.
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“Listen: somebody might have to sacrifice a little bit of something – that’s part of being in a team, it’s not an individual sport. When you play with a certain midfield, whether it’s a midfield three, you adapt your game to complement each other.
“That’s what I had to do at United. I was in the team with lots of different midfielders, lots of combinations and, if a certain midfielder was playing, I would try to take up positions to allow him to benefit and he would do things to allow me to benefit.
“It’s all about being compatible and recognising the strengths of your fellow team-mates and how to get your best performance, but, ultimately, you might be sacrificing what you do best to allow someone else to excel, which helps the team win.”
While Pogba’s appearances in 2019/20 have been restricted by injury, United fans know full-well what he’s capable of when at his belligerent best in the middle of the park.
Memories of Bruno’s excellence in February and March linger fresher in the mind, but Fletcher has been most impressed by one particular mental characteristic of the Portuguese, which he thinks is what’s needed to stand out as a Red.
“I think he’s been fantastic. Listen, his ability has been there for everyone to see. For me, it’s been his personality and his attitude.
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“He tries things, he tries difficult passes but, when he gives it away, it’s his reaction after he does it. It’s fantastic, his hunger to try and get the ball back. He doesn’t throw his arms up in the air or sulk and moan.
“He’s bossing people on the pitch, he’s taking responsibility. He’s looked like the epitome of a Manchester United player. He wants to be there, he wants the ball, he demands the ball.
“He’s seen Old Trafford as his theatre and he’s relishing it. He’s sort of been a breath of fresh air with personality more than anything, which is what you need to play for Man United.
“Ability’s not enough. You need personality to play for Manchester United and he epitomises it.”