Football - Fletcher makes United return

Midfielder Darren Fletcher returned to competitive action on Monday night as he turned out for Manchester United's Under-21 side against Fulham.

PA Sport Report

The 29-year-old Scotland international has played just 13 games since announcing he was taking an extended break from football in November 2011 after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.

He has since undergone several operations - the last of which took place in January - and been put on a strict dietary regime in a bid to correct his stomach condition and allow him to resume playing duties.

Fletcher was finally given the all-clear to return to training last week and on Monday night took the first steps towards a first-team comeback by playing 67 minutes of the 2-2 draw.

"I've been training for a few weeks now and the next progression is to get some match-time. I enjoyed it," the Scot told MUTV.

"The plan was to get to half time and see how I felt. Then get to 60 minutes and take it from there and, although I felt I could have gone on a bit longer, the plan was not to play more than that so I'm better sticking to the plan and not upsetting the sports science lads."

Fletcher also praised the club and his family for the parts they played in helping him get back on to the pitch after a difficult few years.

He said: "They've been great, especially the doc Steve McNally. He's worked closely with me, getting myself right and back, and the support from the club has been fantastic - from Sir Alex Ferguson to the new manager and David Gill. Everyone at the club. I couldn't ask for anything better.

"It's been tough. Luckily, I've got a great family around me - my wife, children, mum, dad and sisters. It's a great family and, if it was not for them, I wouldn't be standing here today.

"They keep me going, keep me motivated and lift me when I'm down. All these factors contributed to me standing here today on the road to recovery."

View comments (2)
  • Inside Football With: Paul McVeigh - Why City are hot and Chelsea are not

    Inside Football With: Paul McVeigh - Why City are hot and Chelsea are not

    Former footballer and now mental performance coach Paul McVeigh digs into why Manchester City is firing on all cylinders and why Chelsea aren't - and it's not to do with talent. More »

    Inside Football - Tue, Sep 1, 2015 09:28 BST
  • Andy Cole: Time for United and de Gea to move on

    Andy Cole: Time for United and de Gea to move on

    Andy Cole gives his verdict on the David de Gea transfer saga, and where both club and player need to go now. More »

    Andy Cole - 20 hours ago
  • Premier League - Noble has red card rescinded

    Premier League - Noble has red card rescinded

    Mark Noble will be available for West Ham's first fixture after the international break against Newcastle after the red card he received against Liverpool was rescinded. More »

    Eurosport - 33 minutes ago
  • Ones to Watch: Nolito

    Ones to Watch: Nolito

    Our latest La Liga player to watch is from unfancied Celta Vigo, but who is better than Lionel Messi. (At least in terms of average key passes per game) More »

    Andrew Gaffney - Tue, Sep 1, 2015 10:49 BST
  • West Brom's Berahino given time off to consider future

    West Brom's Berahino given time off to consider future

    West Bromwich Albion's England under-21 striker Saido Berahino will be given time off until next Monday to consider his position after suggesting he would not play for the club again, sources close to the player said on Wednesday. Berahino was furious after negotiations on a proposed move to Tottenham Hotspur broke down on the final day of the transfer window, with Albion chairman Jeremy Peace blaming Spurs for undervaluing and unsettling the player with four different bids. "I can officially say I will never play (for) Jeremy Peace," Berahino tweeted on Tuesday. More »

    Reuters - 3 hours ago