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Darren Fletcher at Man Utd: What is his role & what does he do as technical director?

11:43 GMT 01/03/2022
Ralf Rangnick Darren Fletcher Manchester United
The former midfielder was appointed technical director last year but his presence in the dugout has confused some supporters

Darren Fletcher has explained a slight change to his role at Manchester United since the arrival of Ralf Rangnick. 

The former Red Devils midfielder was given a role as technical director last year but, following the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the Scotsman has been seen on the bench next to Rangnick and Chris Armas.

Given Fletcher’s senior job title it has confused some as to why he regularly takes training sessions and is seen on the pitch during warm-ups and Rangnick himself admitted last week he didn’t know what his role is. But the 38-year-old has moved to clarify his position. 

What has been said? 

Speaking at a meeting of the Fans’ Forum, Fletcher explained what his role is and how it has changed since Rangnick arrived. 

“With Ralf and his staff coming in, and Michael (Carrick) and Kieran (McKenna) choosing to move on, we had a quick transition process, so part of my role has been to assist with that, both on the training pitch and during games,” he explained. 

“I guess that’s been the most visible part for me this season, but that’s really an addition to my overall technical director role.

“Probably the key part of the role is taking a holistic view of the path for players from our academy to our first team. That pipeline of academy talent is a massive part of who we are as a club.”

What did Rangnick say?

Interim Manchester United manager Rangnick was asked about Fletcher’s role last week. 

"Well, I can only talk about what I've experienced in the last 11 to 12 weeks. He has always been part of almost every training session and each game,” he said. 

"Whenever I have had a question about what he thinks, because he obviously knows the players, he has known them for a long time. I could always, and will always, ask him for his opinion. So it is good to have him in the team.

"What is his role with regard to the club? I don't really know, to be honest. I can only tell you what is happening in the training sessions, around the training sessions and around the games. In those areas, it is good to have him on board."

What else do we know? 

Fletcher was appointed as technical director last March alongside John Murtough who became the club’s first football director. The pair are heavily involved with club recruitment and both were involved in the interview process which brought Rangnick to the club. 

Fletcher is particularly involved in getting youth players through to the first team and has a close relationship with head of academy Nick Cox.

Speaking further about his role he said: “I’m working closely with Nick Cox, as head of academy, to look at the long-term strategy for bringing players through. 

“We have to manage the balance between allowing them to develop and creating the right steps for that, without piling the pressure onto them.

“Along with Nick, I’m looking at how we best use the loan system to give academy players invaluable experience at other clubs. 

“We currently have 13 young players and academy products on loan and playing regularly in other divisions or leagues.

“Hopefully we’ll see players like Brandon Williams, Teden Mengi, Jimmy Garner, Ethan Laird, Tahith Chong, and Amad Diallo reap the benefits of that. All of them are doing really well on loan and we’re excited to bring them back in pre-season to see how they fare with our first-team players.

“It’s been a brilliant experience since I took on the role, and the combination of long-term planning and contributing to our strategic goals, with the opportunity to still be close to the team and management, makes it a unique role.”

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