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United's Fletcher taking break for health reasons

Manchester United FC have announced that Scotland midfielder Darren Fletcher is going to take an extended break from football in an attempt to fully recover from an ongoing health issue.

Darren Fletcher at a press conference last month
Darren Fletcher at a press conference last month ©Getty Images

Manchester United FC have announced that midfielder Darren Fletcher is taking an extended break from football for health reasons.

Over the last 12 months the Scotland captain has endured several spells on the sidelines with what the club today revealed as an ongoing ulcerative colitis – a chronic inflammatory bowel condition. "Whilst he was able to maintain remission of symptoms for a considerable period this has proved more difficult recently," said a statement from United.

"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."

Scotland manager Craig Levein paid tribute to Fletcher's strength of character. "Darren has shown tremendous dedication and fortitude, demonstrated by his ability to overcome this illness and perform at the highest level," he said. "The most important thing at this stage is for the player to be given time to rest and recuperate."

Fletcher's last appearance for the English champions came on 22 November, scoring in a 2-2 UEFA Champions League draw with SL Benfica at Old Trafford. United have now transferred to the UEFA Europa League round of 32 and will discover their opposition on Friday.