Some Manchester United players confused about exact nature of Fletcher's role

Some Manchester United players are confused about the exact nature of Darren Fletcher’s role at the club, according to a report by the Athletic.

Fletcher, 37, is the club’s technical director, but there does not seem to be much clear definition about the parameters of his role.

Recently, he has been working closely with Ralf Rangnick on matchdays and was shouting instructions from the touchline in the 1-0 defeat to Wolves.

The report claims that Fletcher feels that he can offer the most value to United with his tactical instructions right now.

Photo by Tom Purslow/Tom Purslow

What is Fletcher’s job?

Fletcher’s appointment, at the same time John Murtough was named football director, was seemingly geared towards adding more footballing expertise behind the scenes at United.

But he has been pictured getting involved in small-sided games in training at times this season, which underlines the lack of clarity over his role.

On paper, his remit looks like it should be away from the pitch and the training ground, working on potential targets and the way the club wants to play.

So some players can be forgiven for wondering what the exact nature of his role is, given he has been active in training and offered as much pitchside instruction as anyone against Wolves.

As acknowledged in the report, incoming chief executive Richard Arnold needs to bring greater clarity to Fletcher’s role and that should mean less work at Carrington and more on the long-term blueprint at the club.

Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

One of the reasons Rangnick has moved Fletcher closer to him is perhaps because he has already lost three coaches who knew the club inside out.

McKenna impressing at Ipswich

Among them was Kieran McKenna, who took the Ipswich manager’s job last month, and he has already drawn praise from one of his new players, defender Luke Woolfenden.

Woolfenden told the club’s official website that he has been taking every opportunity to soak up the experience of someone who has been at the biggest club in the country.

He said: “All of the sessions have been really good, really sharp and really intense. It’s been a lot of football fitness rather than just running.

“It’s been very game-related, so I’ve found it really good. Kieran has been at the biggest club in England and one that is definitely in the top three biggest clubs in the world, so I’ve just been picking his brains about that.

“Just knowing how the top athletes live and work will be good for me and everyone else at the club.”

Fletcher, like McKenna, is a young coach and if his pitchside involvement continues while United continue to flounder, he will find his contribution and role under even greater scrutiny from players and fans alike.

That happened to McKenna at Old Trafford, but it appears he has made a strong impression in his new surroundings.

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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.