Not looking good for the former Scotland captain is it. Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed that Darren Fletcher hasn't started Pre-Season training, meaning he will miss the start of the season. He reiterated that he will remain patient with one of his most trusted players.
"He hasn’t started training with us. Obviously he has got great challenges ahead and we are happy to be patient with him but he won’t be starting the season. It is unfortunate because he is such a magnificent professional and such a nice lad. But if it doesn’t work for him he knows he has a position in the club anyway."
Fletcher is suffering from the bowel condition ulcerative colitis. Having returned once from a fairly lengthy absence, he again had to cut his season short, not playing another game for United last season after scoring against Benfica in the Champions League.
What really worries me, is that Ferguson admits that he may never return, probably the first time he has acknowledged this fact. With Manchester United being, well, Manchester United, we look after our own, and a coaching position is waiting in the wings if things do not turn out as planned
Fletcher offers something different from our other midfielders. A supreme work rate and a dogged ball winner in the midfield, he will hunt down and pressure the opposition. His passing, while not spectacular, is under rated, and he knows how to score a crucial goal too (My mind wanders back to the fantastic display he put in, when he scored two goals against City at Old Trafford in the wonderful 4-3 victory).
Knowing he is missing, will Sir Alex dabble in the market for a ball winning midfielder. Who knows. We have players with energy to get around the park in Anderson and Tom Cleverley, yet they endured injury hit seasons last year, and they are not the most responsible players when it comes to defending. Michael Carrick, while being fantastic defensivley, uses his brain slightly more than his legs, looking to position himself well in order to intercept passes. While Shinji Kagawa will play higher up the pitch, all though his reported willingness to pressure defenders may mean we will start winning the ball higher up the pitch.
Here's hoping that Darren Fletcher makes a full recovery. I have added a poll, to see if you think he will? In my eyes, it is looking more and more unlikely, and as one of my favourite players, that makes me very sad indeed