From a title fight to a relegation scrap: Darren Fletcher embraces WBA challenge

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From the locker room to the table slot, it’s safe to say this is all new to West Bromwich Albion’s Darren Fletcher.

The Scottish midfielder, 31, is taking his first steps outside of Manchester United in the Premier League, and he walks into a team that is in a battle for its Premier League lives.

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Relegation scraps aren’t exactly old hat for the 31-year-old with five Premier League titles under his belt. But that doesn’t scare him, nor is he crying a river over his Old Trafford departure.

From West Brom’s site:

“It wasn’t difficult to leave because I felt like I needed a new challenge in my career. I’ve achieved great things being at Manchester United for a long time and there will be great memories but I’ve got a new challenge ahead of me, and I’m a West Brom player now and that’s where all of my focus and energy will be going now.

“It’s one that I’m well aware of, and I know the position the club is in right now and I don’t want to be there. I want to stay in the league and push on up in the league. I’m more than capable of that.”

The Baggies have made a good investment in their top-flight survival, and Fletcher’s the sort of stabilizing influence that can help Tony Pulis get the most from his club. If he doesn’t, he may have a distinction he never planned: relegation participant.