Fletcher back as Bébé misses out
Manchester United’s Premier and Champions League lists, confirmed on Tuesday, include Scottish captain Darren Fletcher, with the 28-year-old seemingly on the verge of a return to first team action this season. However, £7.4 million Portuguese misfit Bébé misses out on European action as Sir Alex Ferguson named his squads for the first half of the season.
Fletcher has not appeared for United since 22 November 2011, and played just 10 times last season after taking an extended break from football. The Scot is recovering from a long-term affliction with ulcerative colitis, although there is no date for the midfielder’s return to the first team. Indeed, Sir Alex Ferguson was able to include Fletcher in both squads – due to his ‘home grown’ status – without impacting on any other player’s place in the squad.
The Scot has appeared twice for United’s Under 21 side this season, with Ferguson reporting Fletcher has gained weight and strength over the summer.
Meanwhile, Bébé – Tiago Manuel Dias Correia – has remained at the club this season after United failed to find a loan spell for the player. The former Vitória de Guimarães player will be available for domestic duty in the unlikely event Ferguson calls on his unique services.
Bébé spent last season on loan with Besiktas in Turkey, although a knee injury curtailed the season to just a handful of appearances. In the meantime Portuguese police continue to investigate the deal – a transfer in which more than 30 per cent of the fee went to agent Jorge Mendes.
United’s European party includes a 25 man ‘A’ squad and eight on the ‘B’ list, although Sir Alex can add to the secondary list at any point proving the player meets UEFA’s criteria. Players are eligible for the B list if born on or after 1 January 1991, and if they have been registered with the club for two years without interruption.
Meanwhile, Premier League rules demand that United registers a 25 man squad – United’s is 24 strong – with no more than 17 players who do not fulfil the ‘Home Grown Player’ criteria. Home Grown players are those who, irrespective of nationality or age, have been registered with an FA affiliated club for three seasons prior to their 21st birthday. Under 21 players are those born on or after 1st January 1991, and United can include any number over and above the 25 man squad limit. Phil Jones, for example, is not included in United’s 24 man Premier League squad, but is eligible as an Under 21.[table id=20 /]