The extracts on this page are taken from selected national newspapers. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Manchester United.
Football rallies round Fletcher
Darren Fletcher's team-mates rushed to pay tribute to the Scot after United announced he was taking an extended break from football because of illness. The midfielder, 27, has a chronic inflammatory bowel condition called ulcerative colitis and has now been advised to stop playing in the hope it will improve his chances of achieving full remission. Rio Ferdinand, who has also seen Nemanja Vidic ruled out for up to a year with a cruciate knee injury, tweeted: “We are going to miss two big players in Fletcher and Vidic, I hope they both come back fitter and stronger than ever. Believe.” Michael Owen also tweeted: “Wishing Fletch all the best in his recovery,” while teammate Tom Cleverley hopes the champions can show they have sufficient quality in their ranks to cover for the loss of Fletcher. “I'm afraid it's bad news for him and bad news for the team. He's a massive player for us and it's a shame because we're having a bit of a problem in centre midfield.” Scotland manager Craig Levein said: "I spoke with Sir Alex Ferguson and Darren this week and the most important thing at this stage is for the player to be given time to rest and recuperate."
The Independent claims Fletcher can take heart from Lewis Moody, who overcame the same diagnosis to captain England at the 2011 Rugby Union World Cup. Writing in his autobiography, Moody claims the hardest part of the condition was coming clean to his team-mates: “Being stubborn and keeping it a secret had simply made life harder for myself.”
As an inevitable result of Fletch’s hiatus there is plenty of speculation linking United with new midfielders during the January transfer window. The Daily Mail claims the Reds are eyeing Juventus star Milos Krasic on a rest-of-season loan after the winger’s agent, Dejan Joksimovic, said that coach Antonio Conte did not want him at the club.