Former prospect Ashley Fletcher could face United on Saturday

Manchester United could come up against some old faces when they face Watford on Saturday.

Former Red Devils striker Josh King – who Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has tried to sign twice during his reign – plays for the Hornets now.

Ben Foster was at United during Cristiano Ronaldo’s first spell and will likely be the man charged with keeping the ball out of the net at Vicarage Road on Saturday.

Tom Cleverley is also at the club and his most recent appearance came in the 1-0 loss at Southampton last month. Craig Cathcart also came through the ranks at Old Trafford.

But there is another former United player who could play his part at the weekend – Ashley Fletcher.


Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Fletcher was largely frozen out under Ranieri’s predecessor Xisco Munoz, but his only two Premier League appearances of the season have come under the Italian.

The towering striker has been introduced from the bench against Southampton and Arsenal.

It seems unlikely that Fletcher would start the game but he could provide a Plan B if Watford want to go direct.

Fletcher left United in July 2016 to sign for West Ham. At the time he said: “There is no bitterness. I sat down with [United] and asked what their plans were for me. Their’s didn’t really match mine.

“I love Manchester United, I grew up watching them and was at the club from the age of 13. I have got fond memories of the club and a lot of friends here. I am thankful to them.

“It was purely because I wanted to play in a first team and United couldn’t guarantee that.”

Fletcher did score against United for West Ham at Old Trafford in a 4-1 EFL Cup defeat in December 2016.

And he may well be fired up to repeat the trick this weekend if he gets the opportunity from Ranieri.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.