Darren Fletcher has joined some impressive company as he makes his 104th consecutive Premier League appearance today, writes Stephen Barry.
Given how few games he played during a player’s usual peak years due to a chronic bowel illness, ulcerative colitis, it’s incredible that he’s been ever-present since his 31st birthday in February 2015.
That coincided with a move to West Brom, where he played 91 consecutive games, 90 as a starter, until moving to Stoke this summer.
Today’s trip to Crystal Palace is his 13th start of a season in which he has played every minute for Mark Hughes’ side.
That puts him level with Jon Walters, now of Burnley, on 104 consecutive appearances – fourth in the all-time list of outfield Premier League players.
Walters racked up his run when at Stoke, between February 2011 and December 2013, with the final 102 of those games all as a starter.
Ahead of them are Wayne Bridge on 113 appearances and another Irishman, Matt Holland, on 115 games.
Holland achieved the feat across four years (August 2000 to August 2004), starting all 76 of Ipswich’s games in their two years in the top flight, before joining Charlton after a year in the old Division One and remaining first-choice until the opening game of the following season.
104 - Darren Fletcher is playing in his 104th consecutive Premier League match today, the joint-4th longest such run for an outfield player in the competition. Mainstay. pic.twitter.com/EyqQ6LXmBF— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 25, 2017
However, the record is held by Frank Lampard for his remarkable 164-game run of games, from October 2001 to December 2005.