Manchester United given midfielder boost

by Sam Peoples

Darren Fletcher hopes to be back in action soon after the start of the Premier League season as he steps up in his recovery from surgery.

The 29-year-old has not played for United since Boxing Day and underwent major surgery in order to try and control his ongoing battle with ulcerative colitis in January.

Fans had been worried that Fletcher would not be able to make a second come back but the midfielder insists that he is aiming to make a full return this year.

“Hopefully, not too long after the start of the season,” he told BBC Radio Five Live.

“I’ve had it for five years but really struggled to control it for the last three years. It’s had a big impact on my day-to-day life, never mind trying to play football.

“Medication wasn’t helping me but surgery was the only solution if I wanted to have not only a future playing football but even a quality of life going forward.”

Whether it was a case of Fletcher not telling Manchester United about his condition or the club deciding to not to tell the public, it is a testament to Fletcher’s attitude that he never let it affect his football.

Fletcher’s 2008/9 campaign was arguably his best season as a player and he did it whilst battling a condition nobody knew about.

Although he has not made his full return to training, Fletcher is happy that everything is going perfectly to plan.

He continued: “It’s all going well. I am still under the hands of the medical team just now and the surgeon who is looking after me. Everything is going to plan so far and I am not that far away now.

“I am doing exercise on my own. I’ve not been given the green light to join in contact in football training but I am doing my own running and physical activities and feel great.

“Hopefully, in the next few weeks I am going to get the green light to join in and to start making the comeback, which is looking very good.”

Whilst Fletcher will never make a return to his days of boundless energy and enthusiasm, his role as a holding midfielder gave United a viable alternative to Carrick last season before surgery cut short his campaign.

And at 29, he can certainly have a role at the club for a few years yet. He has always been a fans’ favourite and it would be great to see him back in good health.

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