MANCHESTER, February 23 – Scotland skipper Darren Fletcher has said he considered leaving Manchester United before a few timely words from coach Sir Alex Ferguson persuaded him to stay.Fletcher’s soul-searching followed being left out of the 2008 Champions League final triumph over Chelsea and his failure to hold down a regular place in the Old Trafford Premier Legue starting lineup.
Several clubs were interested in him notably Birmingham, whose manager Alex McLeish knew Fletcher well from being manager of the Scottish national side and it just needed the player to take the initiative.
But Ferguson was determined to ensure that did not happen.
And how right that observation proved to be given Fletcher is now firmly established as one of the most effective midfielders in the Premier League.
"I was still having doubts because I was in a fairly strong position with only a year left to run on my contract," Fletcher recalled in an interview for the official League Cup final programme.
"If there was a time to leave it would have been a good opportunity.
"But the manager came to me. The contract talk was put to one side and our discussion was mainly about playing time.
"He said there had been offers but he didn’t want me to go.
"I listened to what he had to say and just decided I did have a future at the club. Fortunately it turned out that way."
It was the fear of leaving a club he had been with since school without showing his true abilities that eventually proved decisive for the Dalkeith-born star.
"Deep down I just wanted to show what I was capable of," he said.
"It was never a case of going on to the pitch worried but maybe it wasn’t coming across on the pitch.
"I would have hated to leave having not shown people what I could do.
"That would have been a genuine disappointment, something I would have looked back on and regretted.
"That is what drove me on and what I want to keep maintaining now because I want to be here for the rest of my career and leave some sort of mark on the club."