Tuesday 09 October 2012

In brief: Darren Fletcher targeting Barclays Premier League return

United midfielder hopes to play soon; Gaston Ramirez and Ricardo Vaz Te suffer injury blows

  • Darren Fletcher has not played a Barclays Premier League match in almost a year

  • Gaston Ramirez scored his first goal for Southampton against Everton two weekends ago

  • Ricardo Vaz Te may miss three months of action because of his injured shoulder

Manchester United’s Darren Fletcher is relishing the prospect of returning to Barclays Premier League action.

The Scotland midfielder has not featured in a Premier League match since November 2011 since being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. Having played in the UEFA Champions League and Capital One Cup this season, he is still waiting for the call in the league, but that may come when United face Stoke City a week on Saturday.

"It's what it's all about, getting as many games as possible," said Fletcher, who has also played for the under-21s and in behind-closed-doors games to help his fitness, to MUTV. "I know the manager has got such a big squad now, especially in the midfield area, and there is a lot of competition for places.

"I have to be patient and wait for my chances but, hopefully, one will come around sooner rather than later.

"My general fitness is fine, it's just match fitness - the sharpness, reaction times, things in your head and things like that. The positional sense, when you're a little bit older, comes back to you fairly quickly."

Ramirez faces six-week layoff after training injury

Southampton were dealt a big injury blow when their record-signing Gaston Ramirez was hurt in training and could face up to six weeks on the sidelines.

The 21-year-old Uruguay midfielder missed Sunday's 2-2 draw in the Barclays Premier League against Fulham after being treated in hospital for a "dead leg", which resulted in severe swelling in the player's thigh. He has also been forced to withdraw from Uruguay's squad for their World Cup qualifiers against Argentina and Bolivia.

"The muscle swelled up very much because there was nowhere for the blood to go"
Nigel Adkins

Ramirez, who joined from Bologna in August could miss the club's next four league matches against West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur, West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City.

Saints manager Nigel Adkins told reporters after the Fulham match that the injury "was quite a serious one".

"The muscle swelled up very much because there was nowhere for the blood to go, so there was a lot of pressure on his thigh," Southampton manager Nigel Adkins said after the Fulham match. "He has had to have a couple of days in hospital to try and relieve the pressure, so obviously he is not going to go and join the Uruguayan team over the international break."

Ramirez has made three appearances for Southampton since joining on transfer deadline day and scored his first goal in the 3-1 defeat by Everton last week.

Vaz Te out for three months

West Ham United forward Ricardo Vaz Te has been ruled out for up to three months after dislocating his right shoulder against Arsenal on Saturday.

Vaz Te injured his shoulder after a collision with Arsenal goalkeeper Vito Mannone during the 3-1 defeat. The 26-year-old has appeared in all West Ham's Barclays Premier League matches this season, scoring once, in the 2-1 defeat of Queens Park Rangers.

"The specialist will determine how long it will take to sort out," said West Ham manager Sam Allardyce. "It will be six to 12 weeks. It is a bit of a shame but we all suffer injuries and we just have to make sure we use the squad we have got."

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Key Points

  • Darren Fletcher hoping to play in first league match in almost a year after illness
  • Gaston Ramirez faces six-week layoff after suffering 'dead leg' in training
  • West Ham's Ricardo Vaz Te set to miss 12 weeks with shoulder injury