Let’s be honest here, what did Louis van Gaal actually achieve at Manchester United?
Ok, maybe that’s a little harsh, but to say the Dutchman was unpopular at Old Trafford would be quite the understatement. After all, he brought nothing but painfully awkward press conferences; horrifically defensive tactics and, well, Memphis Depay.
Somebody who certainly wasn’t a fan of the ex-United boss proves Darren Fletcher. In fact, the Scott thinks that one particular Van Gaal decision was so poor that it should be earmarked as a ‘sad day’ in the club’s history.
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Fletcher certainly never set the world alight at Old Trafford, but the midfielder was a true asset on his day. This was no more the case than upon the arrival of Van Gaal.
Nevertheless, it became swiftly apparent that Fletcher wasn’t to be a common fixture in the Dutchman’s side. This in spite of promising performances under David Moyes and Ryan Giggs.
It only took 12 appearances under the 65-year-old for Fletcher to move on and sign for West Bromwich Albion.
Speaking to ESPN, the midfielder remains candid about the situation: “I don’t think I was ever in Van Gaal’s plans in the first place.
“I probably surprised him in pre-season and that enabled me to stay when a lot of other players left. But ultimately, I couldn’t stay and not play.
“I would have been a bit-part player. That’s what I was for six months and it was really getting to me.
"It wasn’t a case of me being patient, I just couldn’t see a way of out it. I needed a new challenge.”
In many ways, Fletcher escaped. The Manchester United that supporters watched under Van Gaal was fundamentally dissimilar to the Sir Alex Ferguson sides in which the 33-year-old had so noticeably thrived.
However, it wasn’t his own exit that Fletcher saw as the saddest moment of the Van Gaal regime. The sale of Danny Welbeck receives that accolade, if nothing else for the symbolic nature of the move.
Fletcher explained: “Lots of players who left under Van Gaal should still be there, in my view.
“That’s not me having a go at anyone, but the day Danny Welbeck was sold to Arsenal was a sad day.
“He’s what a Manchester United player should be about - a local lad, young, great player, team player, somebody who sacrificed himself for the greater good of the team, loved by his team-mates.
“He was on the brink of becoming a top, top player and he would have been a top player for United.”
You can’t help but admit that he has a point. Van Gaal, in selling Welbeck, ridded the club of its last local player within the running for a regular spot in the first team.
In so many ways, it encapsulated a backwards step for the club and a confusingly unnecessary one at that. To hand over the baton to a rival in Arsenal as well, adds further salt in the wound.
With West Brom punching above their weight in eight place, Fletcher can at least take refuge in the fact he took the right decision. Moreover, Van Gaal is well and truly retired, his bruising influence on United certainly isn’t though.
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