Darren Fletcher delighted to be back in action for Manchester United

 

Darren Fletcher returned to Manchester United's starting line-up for the first time in 10 months last night and declared himself delighted to be back.

The Scotland captain has been trying to manage a career-threatening bowel condition.

And after a brief Champions League appearance against Galatasaray last week, Fletcher took a major step forward at Old Trafford by leading the Red Devils to a 2-1 Capital One Cup victory over Newcastle.

"It is great to be back," midfielder Fletcher said.

"I have had a few reserve games and a run-out in the Champions League last week but it is good to be back, especially at Old Trafford, and in a winning team as well."

Goals from Anderson and Tom Cleverley were enough to book a last-16 meeting with fellow Premier League heavyweights Chelsea at Stamford Bridge next month.

However, Wayne Rooney revealed Cleverley faced flak for missing a golden opportunity before the break when he had been set up by Javier Hernandez.

"The manager wasn't too pleased with Tom because of that miss in the first half," said Rooney.

"But it was a nice goal by him and a great strike by Anderson.

"I am delighted for the two of them, especially Tom because it was his first one."

In a seven-day period beginning on October 28, United will meet Chelsea twice in addition to taking on Arsenal at Old Trafford.

It represents a major test, not least because of their growing number of injured defenders, and Nemanja Vidic and Phil Jones will both still be sidelined for certain.

The departure of Alex Buttner before the end was another worry for Ferguson.

However, there was consolation in the performances of youngsters Scott Wootton and Michael Keane, who until the final 20 minutes when Papiss Cisse scored kept Newcastle at bay in impressive fashion.

"For two young centre-halves playing against top strikers they were fantastic," said Fletcher.

"They were talking to me the whole game."

Keane went into the match with just one substitute appearance under his belt, while Wootton was making his debut.

Marnick Vermijl, Robbie Brady and Ryan Tunnicliffe, whose dad landed a hefty wager at 100-1 that his son would play a first-team game for United - struck when the midfielder was only nine - were also given their first experience of senior combat.

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew was disappointed with the outcome, although he did sense a change in Cisse, who was scoring for the first time this season and hit the bar late on with a spectacular attempt.

"That goal means everything to him," said Ferguson.

"There is nothing in his workrate that has changed. Sometimes a goal can make a difference.

"You could see that little bit of exuberance return to his game with the overhead kick. I thought that was in."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before