Having come back to play first team football, Darren Fletcher has revealed the full extent of his illness, which was so serious that it prevented him from even playing football with his kids or leaving the house.
Fletcher has been plagued by a chronic bowel illness for over two years now and hadn’t played for United since Boxing Day last year, when his latest comeback came to an abrupt end as the condition returned to afflict the 29-year-old midfielder.
“I couldn’t leave the house, it was as simple as that,” said Fletcher. “I couldn’t take my kids to the park for a kickabout. Simple stuff.
“I couldn’t go for a meal with my wife, just because of the nature of the illness.
“There was the exhaustion side of it as well. It was proving difficult. I always had a belief that one of the medications would work. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case.”
The Scotsman, however, returned to the pitch on Sunday as a replacement for Ryan Giggs and was welcomed on the pitch by a booming reception, as chants of “There’s only one Darren Fletcher” erupted from the away end.
United have desperately miss the energy and stamina Fletcher provided to the team between the 2007 and 2010 season, when he rose to prominence and completed the switch from youngster struggling for fans’ appreciation to pivotal figure in Sir Alex Ferguson’s team and his absence has been sorely felt in United’s midfield.
It’d be foolish to expect Fletcher to return at the level he was before falling ill, nor should he be burdened with the “like a new signing tag”, for he’s simply happy to have finally come back after his operation.
“There were no guarantees with the operation,” said Fletcher. “If it was not a success there was no way I would be able to play football.
“I didn’t want to give it up. I worked hard to be a professional footballer. I always have. I didn’t want to give it up. I always kept that determination. I was doing this operation, not just to have a quality of life but also to get back playing football.
“Once I came out of that operation it was going to be ‘this has either worked or it hasn’t’. It was a very emotional day.
“There was a lot of fear and anxiety. Thankfully I was in the hands of an unbelievable surgeon. I put all my trust in him. He was confident, as long as I did everything right.
“All the tests were right and when that moment came, it was such a relief.
“I am back to normal. I’m standing here now, I do not have ulcerative colitis. I have come through that now. I am leading a normal life. I am back playing football in the Premier League.”
Fletcher’s previous returns only managed to again flare up the condition, but the United midfielder insists he’s back for good now and his only focus is to help the team to improve their form, turn things around this season and, hopefully, win trophies.
“This is it,” said Fletch. “I’m back for good. Hopefully there will be no setbacks with the health issues. I seem to have come through that, thank God.
“I’ve battled through it, and I’m only 29 years old. I think I’ve got plenty more years of playing left in me.
“I could have a career all over again if I get my health right, and hopefully that’s what I’m going to do.
“It’s hard enough watching the lads win, but it is a lot more difficult when they are not winning.
“We have got to get to the semi-final of the League Cup and go on a run and be in contention come New Year.
“We have to be in a position, where things are still possible. That’s all we can do now.”
Darren Fletcher, football genius.
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Tags: Manchester United News