Fletch: Scholes simply sublime
Scholes retired in the summer leaving a massive gap in Sir Alex Ferguson's squad. It was anticipated a big-name replacement would arrive but a move for Wesley Sneijder came to nothing, Samir Nasri opted to join Manchester City and Luka Modric was eventually forced to stay at Tottenham after a lengthy flirtation with Chelsea. Many United supporters feel their club is paying for the inability to bring in a fresh face and the lack of creativity will eventually prove the difference when major trophies are being handed out next spring. It is fairly obvious Fletcher would not adopt such a pessimistic stance. But he genuinely feels trying to find someone to fill Scholes' boots is a complete waste of time. "We can't replace Paul Scholes, it is as simple as that," said the Scotland skipper. "If there was someone I am sure he would be here. "You are talking about one of the best players ever to play for Manchester United." Instead, the Red Devils must make do with what they have. At times, Anderson has appeared to be a fairly effective playmaker and Michael Carrick took on the role in previous seasons even if he has struggled for form in this one. Ryan Giggs offers another option for Ferguson, although in general, Fletcher believes the task of United's midfield at present is to create space for the flair men ahead of them. "As midfielders we know what our job is and how we affect games," he said. "Maybe we are not noticed but we have quality players in advanced positions. Our job is to supply them." After recovering from the virus that affected him for almost six months, Fletcher is likely to be one of the men Ferguson relies on this week when United entertain Benfica in the Champions League. Back-to-back victories over Group C whipping boys Otelul Galati have put United back in a familiar qualifying spot after they had opened their campaign with a couple of draws. However, that winning form needs to be maintained against a Portuguese side who enjoyed the better of their encounter at the Stadium of Light but ultimately had to settle for a point. It could be another opportunity for Phil Jones to show how comfortable he is with life at the highest level after a couple of outstanding performances for England recently. After observing the £17million summer arrival from Blackburn at close quarters, Fletcher was not in the least bit surprised at the 19-year-old's rapid rise to prominence. "He has done fantastic and shown what a real quality player he is," said Fletcher. "Phil has filled the position created by John O'Shea going to Sunderland, although I think he is going to end up as a defender because that is his natural position. "He has performed fantastically at full-back and watching the two England games he did really well in them as well. "He has shown real quality and proved why the manager snapped him up."