The 29-year-old has been battling against ulcerative colitis for the last three years, an illness which has threatened to push him into early retirement. However, the positive news for United fans is that he has a plan, which should see him eventually return in much stronger condition.
The Scottish international has banned himself from anything to do with the club’s training regime until he’s over his illness and able to tackle professional football fully fit and without danger of another flare up.
“It is difficult being there when you are not actually training. I’ve spoken to the manager, he seems great and we have discussed the plan going forward. I just can’t wait to go back when I’m ready to get back training, not just plodding around no use to anyone,” said Fletcher.
It’s a very sensible plan for two main reasons with the most obvious being the mental benefits that he should draw from not being near the Carrington training complex.
It is bound to be immensely frustrating for Fletcher being around the club, being around friends in the first team and not being able to take part in training and get involved in preparations for the new season.
He’s already suffering with one severe illness and certainly doesn’t need something like depression to develop, which is a possibility if he can’t train and just wants to give in to his childlike instincts and just get stuck into training.
The determination and passion he already has will just grow and grow and it’s a credit to his professionalism and ambition that he doesn’t want to go anywhere near United until he can give 100% to the first team and everything David Moyes is trying to achieve.
Banning himself from Carrington also removes the temptation to get back into training prematurely, maybe slightly before he’s fully ready to start training again which has the ability to set him back, further down the line.
The physical side of things is very important because he needs to ensure that he’s perfectly fit and ready to get back into life as a professional player, minimising the risks involved as he battles his condition.
“It’s been very frustrating. I’ve struggled for three years. But knowing that it is hopefully coming to an end and that I can get back playing football to the level I expect to be playing is exciting,” he added.
The benefits for United are huge because when he returns it will literally be like having a new signing available, as Fletcher will inject the team with his renewed passion and his experience from playing for the club in the past.
He seems to have a very clear vision in his mind and a realistic way to get back into the United first team squad and team itself. It will also give the entire club a boost when he returns because there would have been several people doubting whether he’d ever play again.
What do you make of Fletcher’s plan? Do you think he’ll return soon?
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