Wednesday 14 December 2011
Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher is to take an extended break from football because of health reasons.
The club said the 27-year-old has been suffering from ulcerative colitis (a chronic inflammatory bowel condition) for some time and has accepted medical advice to have some time off from the game.
"We hope the removal of the additional stress will aid his recovery"
- Man Utd statement
The Scottish international has decided to take a leave of absence from the demands of training and playing in order to give him the best chance possible of achieving full remission once again.
A United statement said: "Darren's continued desire to play and his loyalty to both his club and country has probably compromised the chances of optimising his own health and fitness.
"We request that his privacy is respected and hope that the removal of the additional stress associated with speculation regarding his health will also aid his recovery."
Fletcher, who has played eight Barclays Premier League matches this campaign, had a two-month spell out towards the end of last season.