Ashley Fletcher has explained that he had to reject Manchester United’s new contract offer and leave the club last summer in order to further his career.
Fletcher, 21, joined West Ham United and almost returned to haunt Man United at Old Trafford on Sunday when he had a chance late on to win the game but David de Gea was equal to his effort.
With his contract running out, United offered Fletcher a new deal but speaking to Sky Sports he went into detail about the reasons behind his exit from Man United.
He said: “The decision to leave was probably made more or less before Jose had come in. I had obviously spoken with Nicky Butt, who was the head of the academy at the time, Warren Joyce and people who were above in the board, John Alexander and Ed Woodward.
“I just thought the decision was right for me and for my family; it was time for me to go and make a career for myself. Manchester United offered me a new contract, but in terms of what I wanted, it was not right. It wasn’t about anything financial, it was just about my career and my progress.
“What they were offering and their ambitions for me did not match mine. Because I was out of contract, there were a few teams already aware of my situation and they were coming with bigger contracts and bigger promises for me to progress my career. I would say a two-year contract was not what I was expecting. It was difficult to turn Manchester United down, but you’ve got to think of your career.”
It was always going to be tough for Fletcher to break through into the first-team squad and Marcus Rashford‘s emergence was probably the final straw for him because it put him even further down the pecking order, and that’s not even taking into account James Wilson who has disappeared into the shadows somewhat too.
Fletcher was never a prolific striker for our academy sides but he was a reliable player, somebody who’d give his all and his decent loan spell at Barnsley probably earned him his move to West Ham which he deserved. In terms of his career progression, leaving United when he did was the right move in my opinion and I doubt he regrets it too.
Other than hoping he has a stinker at Old Trafford tonight if he features for West Ham, I wish Fletcher the best of luck in London and just like so many other academy graduates he might not go on to succeed at United but I think Fletcher will have an excellent career at other clubs.