TYKE-ING AD­VICE

Ash­ley Fletcher lis­tened to Man United pals when join­ing Barns­ley on loan

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Chris Bai­ley

IF ALL goes to plan, Ash­ley Fletcher will be link­ing up with Wayne Rooney and An­thony Mar­tial in the near fu­ture – but for now he’s thriv­ing along­side an on-fire Sam Win­nall.

A Manch­ester United youth prod­uct, Fletcher ar­rived on loan at Barns­ley ear­lier this month and be­gan in style, net­ting on de­but as the Tykes drew 1-1 with Fleet­wood in the John­stone’s Paint Tro­phy north­ern fi­nal first leg. They travel to the Cod Army on Thurs­day for the se­cond leg and af­ter ex­tend­ing his loan spell un­til the end of the sea­son ear­lier this week, Fletcher is eye­ing up a trip to Wem­b­ley. But the 20-year-old is also look­ing to soak up the wis­dom of Win­nall, who be­gan the week

end with eight goals in his last five league games for the York­shire side.

“Since I’ve come in, Sam has taken me un­der his wing and he’s helped me a lot with ad­vice on what it takes to play in this league,” said Fletcher.

“Play­ing in his po­si­tion, I can only look to him as he’s on fire at the mo­ment. I’ve been watch­ing him, I’ve been play­ing along­side him, I’ve been feed­ing him the ball and as­sist­ing him, and I’m try­ing to build a re­ally good part­ner­ship. He’s some­one that I’m re­ally look­ing to learn from.

Plans

“My main aim is def­i­nitely still to make it at United, I feel I’m very much part of the plans there. I’ve come to Barns­ley to get the league ex­pe­ri­ence and get games un­der my belt. And when I re­turn, I think I’ll be all the bet­ter for it.

“It would be a huge bonus for me to be part of a fi­nal if we get there, it doesn’t mat­ter who you are – any player dreams of play­ing at Wem­b­ley and if we get the job done I would love it.

“We’ve only done half the job, and hope­fully go­ing to Fleet­wood next week we can fin­ish it.”

Fletcher ini­tially ar­rived at Oak­well on a one-month deal ear­lier this month and the news that it has been ex­tended is mu­sic to the young striker’s ears.

The Fleet­wood game was not just his first game for Barns­ley, but his se­nior de­but and he fol­lowed that up by help­ing the Tykes to three straight league wins.

That run of form has seen them ease away from the bot­tom four and creep to­wards the play-offs and Fletcher’s ex­ten­sion comes as a boost to their pro­mo­tion hopes.

How­ever, he may not have ar­rived at Barns­ley in the first place if not for the rec­om­men­da­tion of fel­low United young­ster Joe Roth­well and for­mer Red Devils mid­fielder Ben Pear­son, who both en­joyed loan spells there as re­cently as this sea­son.

Chal­lenge

“I spoke to them both and they had kind words to say about the club, that it’s very fam­ily-ori­en­tated and that the fans were great, and if I’m look­ing to go out then it would be a very good place for me to be,” added Fletcher.

“The chal­lenge has been good, just play­ing dif­fer­ent types of po­si­tions and the ex­pe­ri­ence of play­ing against men has re­ally helped.

“It’s some­thing you have to adapt to, play­ing against op­po­nents who can be big­ger and stronger than you, but it’s some­thing I’m rel­ish­ing.

“I got the stage where I needed to go out on loan and get some ex­pe­ri­ence.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

TYKES’ DEADLY DUO: Sam Win­nall, scor­ing for Barns­ley against Ever­ton in the League Cup, has helped Fletcher at Oak­well

DEVIL DES­TINY: Ash­ley Fletcher scores for United’s U21 side

LOAN STAR: Ben Pear­son

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