Manchester United technical director Darren Fletcher clarifies his role and defends set-piece coach

Fletcher has been present in dugout despite taking on behind-the-scenes role

Mark Critchley
Northern Football Correspondent
Tuesday 01 March 2022 11:46 GMT
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<p>Manchester United technical director Darren Fletcher with Ralf Rangnick</p>

Manchester United technical director Darren Fletcher with Ralf Rangnick

Darren Fletcher has clarified his technical director role at Manchester United, revealing that his main responsibility lies in developing academy talent for the first team.

Fletcher was appointed to the newly-created role last year to work alongside John Murtough, United's first-ever football director.

Despite the behind-the-scenes nature of the job, the former United midfielder has been present in the dugout among the coaching staff during games, sometimes even helping to take the pre-match wam-up.

Fletcher was questioned about the specifics of his role at a fans' forum held by the club on Friday, where he told supporters that the upheaval following Ralf Rangnick's interim appointment in November led him to expand his role.

Following Rangnick's appointment and the departure of predecessor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, coaches Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna also left Old Trafford.

“With Ralf and his staff coming in, and Michael and Kieran 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,” Fletcher 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.”

Fletcher also used the forum to defend the record of Eric Ramsay, the coach appointed last summer with the remit of improving United's record on set-pieces.

Despite Ramsay's appointment, United only scored from a corner for the first time in the Premier League this season in the recent 4-2 victory over Leeds United, having failed with their previous 139 attempts.

When asked about Ramsay's appointment, Fletcher pointed out that United's record of conceding from set-pieces has improved since his arrival.

“People only give the one narrative about scoring from set pieces. The biggest reason Eric was brought in was because we were conceding too many goals from set pieces.

“We have really improved our defending from set pieces and wide free kicks this season. Eric is a fantastic coach.”

United conceded 14 goals from set-pieces in the Premier League campaign last season, around 0.37 per game. This season, that has dropped to five in 27 games, a rate of around 0.19 per game.

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