Darren Fletcher
Fletcher left United as the club's longest serving player (Getty)

Darren Fletcher admits he sought advice from Sir Alex Ferguson before swapping Manchester United for West Bromwich Albion on the January transfer window's deadline day.

The Scottish international was the longest serving player at Old Trafford under Louis van Gaal before moving to The Hawthorns on a free transfer, signing a two-and-a-half year contract in the process.

Fletcher had made just four starts for United this season as his marginalisation from the first team continued this term, but the 31-year-old admits he had to seek a second opinion before deciding to join The Baggies.

"Of course I spoke to him [Sir Alex Ferguson], why wouldn't you? When someone has been such an influence on you and given you great advice on and off the pitch all through your career you have to use these people," he said.

"We spoke about the pros and cons of different clubs around the country and he couldn't speak highly enough of West Brom.

"I felt I needed a new challenge and I wanted to play regular football. You make a decision at a certain stage of career of how much game time you are willing to accept. I am too young to be playing as little as I was so in that sense it was a really good challenge for me.

"I spoke with the manager [Van Gaal], he didn't really want me to leave but he respected my decision and did everything he could to help me. I have been through a lot to get back playing and want to show people what I am still capable of."

Despite being behind the likes of new signings Daley Blind and Ander Herrera in the pecking order at Old Trafford, Fletcher reveals he was almost not allowed to leave United amid injury to Michael Carrick.

The England midfielder has been ruled out for four weeks with a muscle rupture and United's decision to release Fletcher was delayed into the final hours of the transfer window.

"I haven't had as many games as I would like this season and, after everything I've been through, I'm a professional football player. I want to play football and hopefully I can do that at West Brom. They've given me the opportunity to do that," Fletcher told talkSPORT.

"I'm leaving Manchester United but I've got so many happy memories and got to know so many great people there I'm leaving with a smile on my face.

"I spoke to the manager [Louis van Gaal] about not playing as much as I wanted and the club didn't really want me to go but they respected my wishes.

"The manager and Ed Woodward have been fantastic. I cannot speak highly enough of them. I have great respect for them and how they have dealt with this. They helped me as much as possible and made the move possible. I have to thank them for being professional and catering for my wishes."