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Darren Fletcher: I wanted to play for Pulis, pure and simple

When Darren Fletcher signed for Albion he had not seen the training ground and not toured The Hawthorns.


Now, as the Albion captain prepares to bring down the curtain on his debut Baggies season, he insists his time with the club has exceeded his expectations.

Fletcher put pen to paper purely on the back of a chat with Albion boss Tony Pulis on neutral ground.

But he says his leap into the unknown has worked out perfectly and he is relishing the chance to build on promising beginnings next season, after ending the current campaign with a trip to Arsenal tomorrow.

"From my point of view he is an infectious manager and I really wanted to play for him, first of all," said Fletcher.

"I signed for the club without seeing the training ground or looking around the stadium.

Darren Fletcher: I wanted to play for Pulis, pure and simple

"I hadn't met anyone else. It was all just speaking to Tony Pulis really. That sold it.

"The rest of it has just been a bonus because I can't believe how good everything else has been.

"Since I have been here I think our form probably would put us into the top-half bracket, so I think it is a case of trying to continue that and aim for that next season and not be fighting a relegation battle.

"It is easier said than done though. We should be aiming top 10 and look to progress every year.

"I have really enjoyed it. I can't believe how well I have settled in myself.

"I always knew I would settle in but within a couple of days I felt comfortable around the place and the lads, it was a real smooth transition for me.

"I'm well prepared to muck in like everyone else and fact we have had some great results has helped."

Fletcher's influence since moving from Manchester United has earned the skipper rave reviews.

But the Scot has revealed how, other than Pulis, he has just one man to please with his performances – long-distance dad Bobby.

Proud Fletcher senior clocks up the miles driving from his Edinburgh home to watch his son in every home game at The Hawthorns as well as the Baggies' away games at northern grounds.


And the Baggies skipper has revealed that his father rarely pulls any punches.

"He is brutally honest. If I'm poor, he'll say it," Fletcher said.

"I know myself, so we are always on the same wavelength.

"We have always had that relationship ever since I was playing boys' football at nine or ten.

"He is the first person I phone after every game.

"I've not had too many negative marks since I've been at West Brom, so that's good!

"Anything north he comes to. He drives down from Scotland so he clocks up a lot of miles!"

Tomorrow's game at the Emirates Stadium could bring Fletcher face-to-face with a former United team-mate in Danny Welbeck, who left Old Trafford half a season before the former Scotland captain having been deemed surplus to requirements by new boss Louis van Gaal and is hoping to be back from injury for the Gunners' final game of the season.

Arsenal's Danny Welbeck
Arsenal's Danny Welbeck

And, while Fletcher is full of praise for the Dutchman, he admits the sale of Welbeck convinced him that times were changing at his former club.

"That probably was the biggest surprise for me," he said.

"I think Danny is a fantastic striker and player.

"He is someone you would want in your team, not just in terms of his ability but his work rate and desire.

"He is willing to a job for the team on the left wing and to drop into midfield and then to get forward.

"His all-round game, his attitude, the way he trains, the way he conducts himself, everything about him, local Manchester lad – a great player.

"So I was very surprised when he left."

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