29-year-old Scotland international Darren Fletcher made a first appearance in nearly 10 months last night, when he turned out for Manchester United’s youth team against Fulham.
Fletcher played for 67 minutes before being subbed off in a match which ended 2-2 on the night after United fought back to level the game from 0-2 down, Michael Keane scoring the all-important equalizer late in the game. Fletcher started off slowly and gave the ball away a few times, but got better as the match wore on.
Despite his return to fitness, it is unlikely that Fletcher will feature in United’s Capital One Cup fixture against Norwich City on Tuesday. The Scot’s last game came on Boxing Day last year, when United beat Newcastle United 4-3 in a humdinger of a match at Old Trafford.
Fletcher has been battling ulcerative colitis which has forced him to miss much of the last three seasons. He was diagnosed with the condition at the end of 2011 which forced him out of action for 10 months and then subsequently he underwent a surgery last season which ensured he would spend a long time on the sidelines.
At one point, the Scot’s footballing career looked to be over, as the condition is said to have taken a lot out of the player physically and Fletcher himself had worried that he would not be able to reach the fitness levels required to play professionally.
But Fletcher returned to training last week and even turned out for United in the under-21 match at Salford Stadium. Last night represents his second game since his return to training and if he can work his way back to full match fitness, then he would provide United manager David Moyes with more options in central midfield.