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Get Well Soon Fletch

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A statement on the Manchester United website read: “Over the past year he has had several absence periods which we have attributed to a viral illness in order to respect his right to medical confidentiality. Darren has, in fact, been suffering from ulcerative colitis (a chronic inflammatory bowel condition) for some time preceding this.

“Whilst he was able to maintain remission of symptoms for a considerable period this has proved more difficult recently and Darren’s continued desire to play and his loyalty to both his club and country has probably compromised the chances of optimising his own health and fitness.

“He has therefore accepted medical advice to take an extended break from the demands of training and playing in order to afford the best chance possible of achieving full remission once again.”

Over the years Sir Alex Ferguson has stated that Darren was always the first name on the Manchester United team sheet, such was his worth to the side.

This is just the latest blow to the Champions who have lost vital members of their side over the last few weeks to injury and this latest blow may just force Sir Alex into the transfer market in January.

Two big players in Darren Fletcher and Nemanja Vidic will now miss the rest of the season for Manchester United, but I am sure even though Nemanja will be concerned with his own battle to get back to full fitness, his thoughts will be with Darren.

After coming through the ranks of Manchester United’s Youth Academy he has gone on to achieve a number of honours with the Red Devils.

In total he has won: 4 Premier League titles, 1 FA Cup, 2 League Cups, 1 Champions League and 1 FIFA Club World Cup. Not to mention the Kirin Cup in 2006 with Scotland.

He is highly rated by team-mates and opponents alike and he was included in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year for 2009-10.

Not one to hide when he came in for stick from someone, such as Roy Keane, when it was reported that Keane said after seeing United lose 4-1 against Middlesbrough, “I can’t understand why people in Scotland rave about Darren Fletcher.” However, Keane later attempted to set the record straight stating, “If you listen to any of my comments over the last two or three years, if I’ve given any player credit over the years it would be Fletch. Fletch will tell you that himself.”

But Fletch just kept playing and performing the way he does and it was his goal in the November of 2005 that ended Chelsea’s 40 match unbeaten run in the Premier League.

At 27 years old has had highs and he has had lows in his time in football but he has played over 300 times for the Old Trafford club scoring 22 goals for the Red Devils and loves playing for the club and Sir Alex Ferguson.

He has had the heartbreak of missing a Champions League final and played in the 6-1 hammering against Manchester City, scoring the goal of the match in the defeat but he bounced back from that.

Fletch is not only an important player for his club, but he is a vital part of Craig Levein’s Scotland set up and after making his debut in 2003 he has gone on to feature 58 times for his country scoring seven goals and he has shown leadership qualities with both club and country and has been proud to wear the captain’s armband for his country after the previous captain (Barry Ferguson )was banned from international football for a breach of regulations.

Fletch was given the captain’s armband in August 2009 and has given his all for his country such is his pride to represent his country and despite his critics, he proves time and time again that he is an important player for club and country. Craig Levein and Sir Alex Ferguson have appreciated his talents over the years, lets hope it’s not long before fans of both Manchester United and Scotland can appreciate his talents once again.

His last appearance in international football came in November’s 2-1 friendly win over Cyprus in which he played for 64 minutes before being replaced by Brighton’s Craig Mackail-Smith.

Scotland manager Craig Levein said: “I am obviously absolutely devastated for Darren because I know how hard he has worked to get back to playing regularly for his club and country.

“He is one of the most inspirational players I have had the pleasure of working with and, on behalf of his Scotland team-mates and my backroom staff, I sincerely hope this time off, allied to the support of his family, will enable him to make a full recovery.”

Levein hailed Fletcher’s on-pitch efforts, adding: “Darren has shown tremendous dedication and fortitude, demonstrated by his ability to overcome this illness and perform at the highest level for Manchester United and Scotland.

“I spoke with Sir Alex Ferguson and Darren this week and the most important thing, at this stage, is for the player to be given time to rest and recuperate. Nobody is more committed to his country’s cause than our captain.

“He is a central part of our plans for the World Cup 2014 qualifiers but, at this stage, his health is paramount and I would like to reiterate the best wishes of everyone at involved with the national team and the Scottish FA.”

A decent bloke, an honest professional who gives nothing less than 100% for club and country, a player who has given his time for fans and pundits, time and time again.

I have been lucky enough to speak to Darren on a couple of occasions and you get nothing but honesty from him, here is a guy who has played with some of the greatest players ever to pull on a Red shirt at Old Trafford but time and time again the name of Darren Fletcher has outshone even the biggest stars at Old Trafford.

Get Well Soon Fletch from everyone at Scotzine!

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About Author

Chief Features Writer for Scotzine.com. Sean has written for various publications and websites over the years and has been involved with making documentaries on Aberdeen Football Club, Dundee United Football Club, Henrik Larsson, Paul Lambert and Jock Stein and also Radio programmes, one of which "Old Firm Day" won a Bronze Sony Award. He also worked in the Scottish Football Museum at Hampden Park. His love of writing started off with The Punter and has gone on to write for the following FIFA magazine, 442, Scotland's Oracle, Players Inc, British Football Week, ESPN, Give Me Football, Inside Futbol, 67 Fanzine and the matchday programmes of Aberdeen, Carlisle United, Montrose, Partick Thistle, Stockport County and Queen's Park. He has also been asked to write a blog for Youth Football Scotland on St.Mirren YFC such was his passion for football at every level from Grassroots to the professional game.

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