Fletcher Fits in to Pulis’ Plan

Darren Fletcher’s move to West Brom on deadline day might not have been the most glamorous but it could prove to be a fantastic piece of business.

New boss Tony Pulis was always going to want fresh faces at The Hawthorns after his appointment as manager on January 1 on the opening of the transfer window.

Since his arrival Pulis has looked to shape the squad as he sees fit for survival in the Premier League, having taken over with the club just a point above the relegation zone.

The arrival of Fletcher, on a free transfer from Manchester United, provides The Baggies with a wealth of title-winning experience in their midfield and a player keen to show he still has it in him to play in the top flight.

The Scot made 342 appearances at Old Trafford, making his debut in 2003, and lifted 14 major honours, including the Champions League in 2008 and five Premier Leagues.

Despite suffering from ulcerative colitis in the past few seasons, Fletcher made his full comeback earlier this season and can offer plenty to Pulis in the remaining 15 games of the season.

At his peak with Manchester United, the 31-year-old was a willing runner for 90 minutes, putting his body on the line for the team.

Pulis wants discipline and plenty of energy in midfield, which is a game plan similar to that he used last season with Crystal Palace and tactics that earned the Welshman the Premier League Manager of the Season award.

Fletcher is likely to line up in central midfield in the West Brom team alongside Claudio Yacob or Youssouf Mulumbu, giving the side an experienced spine that starts with England goalkeeper Ben Foster behind 32-year-old Joleon Lescott.

Fletcher is not famed for his creativity but will surely have picked up a few pointers from the likes of Juan Mata, Angel Di Maria and Paul Scholes during his time at United. The main objective for Fletcher will be to work tirelessly for the team, alongside Yacob or Mulumbu, and to keep the midfield discipline.

Pulis bemoaned the poor start his side made in the 3-0 defeat to Tottenham last weekend, focusing on his side’s failure to retain possession in his first defeat since taking over.

Fletcher is not blessed with blistering pace, dazzling skills or a deadly eye for goal but he will bring bags of experience to the club and the athleticism Pulis craves in his midfield.