Fletcher plays down transfer speculation

July 17, 2008

Darren Fletcher insists the only person he will listen about any speculation linking him with a move away from Old Trafford is Sir Alex Ferguson.

As most of the talk around Manchester United this summer has concerned Cristiano Ronaldo, not too much attention has been devoted to Fletcher.

Yet, after finding his first-team opportunities severely restricted last term, it is little wonder some pundits believe it would be better if the Scotland international moved on.

Boyhood favourites Celtic might be one option, while plenty of United's Premier League rivals would be interested in Fletcher found himself on the market.

However, the 23-year-old is not allowing himself to get distracted by such rumours. And, as United embark on their tour of South Africa, the Dalkeith-born player is content to concentrate on that.

'The speculation does not get on my nerves,' he told MUTV.

'At this time of year, people make news out of nothing. You learn to deal with that here.

'The most important thing is to remain focussed on Manchester United unless anyone tells you otherwise that is what you do.'

There has been no indication from Ferguson that Fletcher is surplus to requirements.

Indeed, the United boss appears more intent on bringing players in, and sorting out a new assistant following the departure of highly-regarded Carlos Queiroz to coach the Portugal national side.

Tottenham's Dimitar Berbatov remains high on United's hit-list, although Ferguson will not be held to ransom for the Bulgarian.

And even though the Red Devils will not be back in the UK for almost a fortnight as they play against the Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates before taking on Portsmouth in Nigeria on July 27, attempts to bring in new faces will continue.

• Meanwhile, Owen Hargreaves was the most notable absentee from the 21-man Manchester United squad which set off today for their four-match tour of Africa.

Hargreaves spent most of last season battling against a knee injury, although he did play in the Champions League final win over Chelsea in Moscow.

However, after missing Saturday's friendly at Aberdeen, Hargreaves also remains behind today as Sir Alex Ferguson and his team set off on a tour that will take them to South Africa and Nigeria.

Also missing were Nani, Edwin van der Sar and Patrice Evra, who all played at Euro 2008, as did Cristiano Ronaldo, but the winger has already been ruled out due to an ankle operation.

However, the rest of United's squad, including Wayne Rooney, Carlos Tevez and Ryan Giggs, were on the flight to Cape Town, along with skipper Gary Neville, who was restricted to one first-team game last season due to an ankle problem but is now fully fit as United look to defend their European and Premier League trophies.