Darren Fletcher’s gruelling battle to return to match fitness and save his Manchester United career has been knocked for six after he will go under the knife to treat a recurring bowel problem.
The 28-year-old midfielder has been suffering from a chronic bowel condition since March 2011 but managed to claw his way back into the Reds’ first-team last September.
But after a handful of appearances, United confirmed that he is out for the remainder of the season to underdo planned surgery to him conquer his health nightmare for good.
A statement from the club read: “Darren Fletcher will be unavailable for the remainder of this season having undergone surgery to resolve his ulcerative colitis condition.
“We wish to stress 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.
“Whilst 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 in the best interests of his long term health 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 at this time and in the coming months in order to aid his recuperation.”
After Fletcher’s suffering was originally ruled as just a virus, United eventually confirmed that the Scottish international would take a clean break from football in order to recover.
Sir Alex Ferguson had questioned the state of United’s home pitch and numerous poor surfaces across the country as winter takes hold of the UK – as Fletcher made just two brief substitute appearances since December 1.
But the club have since confirmed the extent of Fletcher’s problem and his professional future now hangs in the balance once again.