Aston Villa 0-3 Manchester United

Moyes hails Darren Fletcher return

December 15, 2013
By Richard Jolly

David Moyes described Darren Fletcher as a role model and said he deserved the huge ovation he received from Manchester United supporters after he made his first appearance in almost a year.

Darren Fletcher return United Villa
PA PhotosDarren Fletcher made his first Manchester United appearance since Boxing Day last year.

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The midfielder, who suffered from the bowel condition ulcerative colitis, had not played for United since Boxing Day 2012 before coming on as a second-half substitute in Sunday’s 3-0 win at Aston Villa.

And Moyes was delighted the United fans hailed his fellow Scot, saying: "Rightly so. Anybody who returns from an illness to play professional football on this kind of stage for a club like Manchester United, it shows a lot about the boy himself.

"He has had to be on his own, he has been in and out of hospital, had operations. It was a big message to a lot of people. Keep believing. If you are not well then keep believing that you can get yourself right.

"More importantly he came on and didn’t look out of place. He stroked the ball about. I don’t think he gave the ball away in the time that he was on. He was really good. He played sensibly and kept the ball and kept it moving for him.

"It is definitely great for him because if you have been someone who maybe your career could have been in jeopardy, to get back out there with the players and put the strip on and play is great. Actually he should have scored with a header and I told him that!"

Moyes also praised Danny Welbeck, who ended a four-month wait for a league goal by scoring twice in four first-half minutes, and encouraged the striker to get on the scoresheet more often.

He added: "I think for Danny it is really important. He is a forward and he needs to get himself goals and it has always been labelled at him [that he doesn’t score often enough]. He got two poacher-type goals. All round, he played well for the team. He was a threat running in behind them. I was pleased with him."

United were missing injured strikers Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez and Moyes said: "Especially when we have Robin and Chicho [Hernandez] out. He stepped up to the mark and that is what happens when you get opportunities, you show what you can do and Danny certainly did that."

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