Darren Fletcher says he is looking to start afresh at Manchester United after making his long-awaited return to first-team action on Sunday.
The midfielder made his first appearance for almost a year when he entered the fray as a second-half substitute against Aston Villa 3-0 at Villa Park. Speaking exclusively to MUTV after the match, Fletcher expressed his determination to regain his place in the United side.
Fletcher said: “This is it, I’m back for good. This is hopefully the game which means I’m back now. I seem to have come through the setbacks and health issues and I’m thankful for that. It’s onwards and upwards now.
“I always believed I would come back, I kept that mind-set. 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.
"Playing a game like that, and getting an ovation like that [from the United fans] makes it all worthwhile.
“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. That was reiterated to me by my family, friends and the old manager. I could have a career all over again if I get my health right, and hopefully that’s what I’m going to do."
Fletcher was quick to praise his loved ones after the match, and thanked the Reds' faithful for their support throughout his battle with ulcerative colitis, a serious bowel condition.
He added that having to watch his team-mates from home has made him hungry to bring success back to Old Trafford, saying that establishing a winning run is vital.