Manchester United have confirmed that Darren Fletcher will miss the rest of the season following surgery to resolve his chronic bowel condition.
The Scottish midfield has fought a two-year battle with ulcerative colitis and while United have emphasised that the operation is part of a ‘planned procedure’, it has to raise fresh concerns about his future.
‘Darren Fletcher will be unavailable for the remainder of this season having undergone surgery to resolve his ulcerative colitis condition,’ the club said in a statement.
‘This was a planned procedure undertaken at the optimal time having achieved a period of sustained good general health, as illustrated by the fact that Darren has trained with the team regularly this season and been available for selection right up to the operation.
‘While it is frustrating for both Darren and the club that he won’t be able to contribute further during this campaign, this decision has been taken with our full support and we look forward to him returning next season with this problem firmly behind him.
‘We would be grateful if his privacy could be respected in order to aid his recuperation.’
You have to wonder about about the long-term future of Fletcher in a United shirt. With his medical condition is it realistic to think that his body can handle the stress of playing for a top club like United?
And if he cannot, then what does Sir Alex do? Out of United’s eight central midfielders in the United squad, three of them (Scholes, Fletcher and Giggs) have major question marks on how long they can continue to perform. Will Fergie have to dip into the transfer market the next two summers to replace these three?