"He has obviously got great challenges ahead," Ferguson said. "We are happy to be patient but he won't be starting the season. It is unfortunate because he is such a magnificent professional and such a nice lad. If it doesn't work for him, he knows he has a position at the club anyway."
Ferguson was speaking at a media conference where he unveiled the club's two latest recruits of the summer transfer window—Nick Powell from Crewe for £4 million and Shinji Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund for £12 million.
The latter part of the quote does suggest that should he fail to make a return from injury, there would be a coaching position of some variety available for Fletcher, but that will hardly come as any consolation for the midfielder, who, most likely, just wants to play football again.
Fletcher has been a valuable part of United's midfield since debuting for the club in 2003 and has made over 160 appearances in the English Premier League since then.
His involvement in midfield was desperately missed last season as United succumb late in the season to hand the Premier League title over to rivals Manchester City.
Fletcher's last match, should he retire due to the illness, was an appearance in the UEFA Champions League against Benfica—a game in which he also happened to score a goal.
And if there was to be any consolatory reward for one of the most underrated footballers in recent seasons, scoring a goal in your final match for Manchester United might just be it.
Is Darren Fletcher's playing career over?
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