Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

BACK FOR GOOD ; Fletcher: I've Beaten Illness

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

BACK FOR GOOD ; Fletcher: I've Beaten Illness

Article excerpt

DARREN Fletcher is adamant he has won his near three-year battle with the bowel complaint that threatened to wreck his football career and blight his life.

The 29-year-old midfielder believes his emotional comeback at Villa Park on Sunday is the start of the next chapter of his United story.

That Old Trafford tale looked in tatters as home-grown Fletcher fought the ulcerative colitis disease.

The mystery problem started in the spring of 2011 and eventually the illness was diagnosed and he was given an extended break in December 2011. Despite comeback matches at the start of last season, the problem became too much to carry on a normal life let alone playing football and last winter it was decided surgery was the final make-or-break option. But Fletcher is now convinced he's back to normal."I'm BACK FOR good. Hopefully there will be no setbacks with the health issues. I seem to have come through that, thank God," he says. "I am back to normal. I am standing here now, I do not have ulcerative colitis . I have come through that now. I am leading a normal life. I am back playing football in the Premier League. It has all been a success. I am just like anyone else. It's onwards and upwards now." The prognosis at times was bleak but Fletcher's inner belief saw him fight the odds with confidence as he shut out the alternative grim future. "I always believed I would come back, I kept that mind-set, and I think other people around me were trying to make me think otherwise, but I stayed strong and believed I would get back. "I think that was the best way to approach the situation and I knew I was going to go through a lot, but the belief and determination was to get back. "Ever since I was a kid, I've wanted to play football. I've been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to play for Manchester United and wasn't going to give that up lightly. I battled through it, and I'm only 29 years old, I think I've got plenty more years of playing left in me. "I want to keep picking up minutes, even if it's with the reserves. Ultimately, the goal is to play in the first team, to be a part of the plans, and to bring success back to United. …

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