In the last two years Darren Fletcher has been limited to only seven starts for Manchester United.
On Thursday, the Scot finally returned to training with the Red Devils. Fletcher still has a lot of work to do before he is ready for regular action, but, most importantly for United supporters, he is finally back.
Fletcher currently suffers from an inflammatory bowel disease known as ulcerative colitis. It has left the footballer sidelined for the past couple of years, but his return to training will leave him buoyed for the future.
The 29-year-old midfielder has been what has been missing from the United squad in recent years. With a bit of steel, a bit of guile and a goalscoring ability that comes from perfectly-timed late runs into the box, Fletcher has been what the Red Devils have tried to get since his sickness left him unable to play.
The Red Devils' midfield has lacked steel as opposing forces have had an easy time passing through the squad and gaining opportunities by swiftly getting the ball into the final third.
But if Fletcher had been present in the middle of that midfield, his ability to intercept those passes and break up opposition attacks would surely have bolstered United's play and made them more dominant over the past two seasons.
Fletcher and Michael Carrick could have developed into the perfect midfield combination.
Carrick would have been the silk while Fletcher could have provided the steel. Carrick's fantastic ability to complete pinpoint passes and dictate the tempo of play alongside Fletcher's ability to stop opposing attacks and pitch in goals through late runs into the box would have been pivotal for United.
That midfield would surely have dominated opposing midfields and who knows how many more games United could have won and if they could have beaten Real Madrid in the Champions League last season.
We can only wonder what could have been with Fletcher and hope he can get back to full fitness soon.
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