“If the operation wasn’t a success there was no way I would be able to play football.”
Those were the words of Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher when he looked back on his treatment for ulcerative colitis in an interview with the Telegraph in December.
The Scottish international has fought the condition for more than three years and has barely played in that time, but following his return to first-team action against Aston Villa, he has not looked back.
When Sir Alex Ferguson mentioned Fletcher in his farewell speech to the Old Trafford faithful, there was a sense of both hope and concern in the former United manager’s voice.
This was not something that just took time; it also took spirit, effective treatment, and an element of luck.
So Ferguson – along with every other fan of United – would have no doubt been elated to see Fletcher return for that 3-0 victory over Villa, before making a further eight appearances to date.
And now the 30-year-old has received more excellent news, after being called-up for Scotland’s friendly match against Poland in March.
If he features, it will be the first time he has pulled on a Scotland shirt since 2012.
It will also be a remarkable turnaround for a player whose career looked perilously close to a premature end.
And for that, Fletcher, along with all those who have helped him recover, deserve a considerable amount of praise.
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