Darren Fletcher Illness: Updates on Manchester United Star's Status, Return Date
Updates from Tuesday, Dec. 3
Rik Sharma of the Daily Mail reports:
Darren Fletcher got another 90 minutes of football under his belt as Manchester United beat Blackburn U21s thanks to goals from Wilfried Zaha and James Wilson.
The midfielder, on the comeback trail after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, also played the whole match during the U21s 0-1 defeat by Stoke in November.
Updates from Tuesday, Nov. 26
Darren Fletcher is not yet ready to make his Manchester United return, but David Moyes says he is getting closer after the Scotland international completed 90 minutes for the Under-21s earlier in November.
Moyes told United's official website:
I don't think he's quite ready yet. He has a bit to do in terms of more reserve games. It's great to see him training regularly, that's a big thing. He's beginning to look like a footballer again, and that in itself is a real plus for him.
I wouldn't want to put a date on [a return] because of the condition. It's something we just have to take as we go along. He's training well and looking good, so we'll try to ensure that continues. I would hate to put a date on things and I'd need to check in with the doctors as well that everything is going to plan.
Latest update from Gerard Brand of the Daily Mail:
Midfielder Darren Fletcher put on a Manchester United shirt for the first time in 10 months [on Monday] after his battle with a serious bowel condition.
Fletcher, who missed most of last season after undergoing surgery on ulcerative colitis, played 67 minutes in United Under 21s' 2-2 draw with Fulham at the AJ Bell Stadium in Salford ...
When asked for a suggestion about how long it will before he returns for Moyes's side, he told MUTV: "You'll have to speak to David Moyes. He's been speaking to me regularly, he's busy with the first team but has given me the time.
"I'm going to get a few more Under 21 games and play full games, not just 60 minutes. They train fantastically and I'll make sure I'm ready when the manager calls upon me ...
"The plan was to get to half-time and see how I felt, then 60 minutes and see from there. The plan was not to play more than that and upset the sports science lads."
Fletcher recently made a return to training at United and is beginning to spark optimism of a return to first-team action at Old Trafford:
There are hopes he could return to competitive action later this month after he took part with the whole group yesterday after several weeks working on his own to regain fitness.
Fletcher has not played for nearly a year. He last featured in United's Dec. 26 4-3 victory over Newcastle.
The issue dates back to a chronic bowel disorder, which Fletcher was diagnosed with back in Dec. 2011, according to Lynch's article.
Since then, there have been multiple attempts at a comeback, but Fletcher has played 13 times in two years and has even seen headlines predicting the end of his career, per David McDonnell of the Daily Mirror.
A return to action for the popular Scotland international would be a major boost for under-fire manager David Moyes, who needs to inject a feel-good factor back into the Premier League champions.
United are already eight points off the pace in the table and have won one of four home league games so far this season.
The recent news of a new long-term contract for teenage star Adnan Januzaj provided relief for Moyes, but he could dearly use a fully fit Fletcher.
United's problems this season have largely been due to the midfield, which has not shown enough creativity, drive or defensive intelligence.
Despite the addition of Marouane Fellaini for mega money, United have struggled to provide regular chances for Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney. Against Southampton, they actually had six fewer shots at goal than their visitors, per ESPN FC.
Fletcher, at his best, is a box-to-box midfielder capable of driving the team forward, but it remains doubtful his illness will ever allow him to revisit those levels.
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