His opportunities may be limited but "the expectancy to win major trophies" at Manchester United FC means Darren Fletcher is ready to stake his claim when called.
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Darren Fletcher could be forgiven for enjoying European nights more than most at Old Trafford. After all, the only starts the Manchester United FC midfielder has made this season have come in the UEFA Champions League, where he featured in the home and away wins over FC Dynamo Kyiv.
'Take every chance'
The 23-year-old's only domestic appearances have come from the bench and he has actually started twice as many games for Scotland this term, yet there were no complaints from Fletcher when he spoke ahead of Tuesday's Group F match against Sporting Clube de Portugal. Not when another opportunity to stake his claim for more regular football beckons. "It's a long season and you just have to be patient, keep yourself fit and take every chance when you get it to give a reminder that you are good enough and capable of playing at this level," said Fletcher.
"My starts seem to come in the Champions League and it's a great stage to play on," he added. "Obviously you want to play in every game but, to be fair, we've got some great midfielders at this club and the form of them all has been great. The manager has a lot of choices and I've picked up a couple of injuries at the wrong time." Fletcher's prospects of a steady role were hardly helped by the summer arrivals of Owen Hargreaves and Anderson yet he describes the challenge as "part of being at Manchester United", continuing: "In training it is very competitive and we bring out the best in each other because we are all striving to start and it is good for competition. It keeps you on your toes."
'My time will come'
His opportunities may be limited but "the expectancy to win major trophies" that permeates the club will ensure he is ready when called on as the campaign unfolds. "It is a long season and you saw towards the end of last season that with injuries and suspensions, we were left with 12 or 13 players when we were going for three trophies [Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League]. It is a big squad but I know my time will come and hopefully we will be fighting for all those trophies again. We were mightily unlucky last year in the FA Cup final and the Champions League and we will be looking to push on from that experience."