FanCast guest columnist Ray Miller looks at the
contribution Roy Keane made to the emergence of Darren Fletcher.
You may love or loathe Roy Keane as a neutral, but
you'll always respect his honesty and saying how it is. In many ways it cut
short his United career, as Sir Alex didn't appreciate his outspoken criticisms
at some of his teammates.
Keane was a United fanatic, wouldn't settle for
second best and every player that would arrive at Old Trafford would find out
soon enough about the standards set at United. The fact of the matter is that
players would be signed by United or come up through the youth set-up and think
they have made it and then subsequently stop fighting for the cause – that is
what use to drive Keane crazy and that is why he had to put them straight. In Teddy
Sheringham's autobiography he talks openly as to how Keane gave him a terrible
dressing down, soon after he joined from Spurs for much that same reason.
It is well documented that one such player that
Keane openly criticised in the passing years was Darren Fletcher. There isn't a
United fan who I know that didn't agree with his sentiments as the Scot was
forever disappointing, during the early years at Old Trafford and he never
looked like making the grade. The player himself has come out plenty of times
since and said how Keane kept on at him, taught him valuable lessons and
certainly in the last 12 months he has put them into practice and is slowly
proving invaluable to us.
Fletcher has become an absolute colossus for United
and you certainly notice the difference when he is missing. Despite a man of
the match performance today, last week at Tottenham he was simply out of this
world and was the driving force behind out turnaround at White Hart Lane. I
always thought that Wayne Rooney was the hardest working player at the football
club; however Fletch must certainly be a close second and he just gets
everywhere on the pitch, fly's into tackles and it is obvious that Keane stern
words have had a lasting effect. Fletch is slowly becoming one of United's most
valuable players – a statement that I am sure no United fan could have ever
imagined they would be saying over the past few years.