Manchester United’s Darren Fletcher says he’s fortunate to be back playing after chronic bowel disease almost ended his career, reports the Guardian.
The midfielder was diagnosed with the condition in 2011, undergoing surgery in January 2013, making just 20 United appearances during this time.
Speaking to reporters, the United midfielder said: “The surgery was a success, I’m better now – I’m living a normal life and back playing football.
The severity of Fletcher’s condition made it almost impossible to train through the discomfort and he’s just grateful to feel back to normal again. The Scotland international has made eight appearances for United since his return to action in December 2013.
“You can be running to the toilet 10, 20, 30 times a day and losing a lot of blood. I ended up in hospital a couple of times on an IV drip. Surgery enabled me to be here today. I’m very fortunate. I’ve got a routine that I stick to and it’s working fine.”
Fletcher admitted he would lie to team-mates to try and keep the condition a secret.
He continued by saying: “I found it difficult, making up stories for reasons why I wasn’t at training. Basically lying to people’s faces. Once I started talking about it and making it public knowledge it was such a relief. The best thing I did.”
The 30-year-old has 320 United appearances to date, winning nine major trophies with the club, including five Premier League titles and a Champions League medal from 2007-08.
The Scotsman has been a big loss this season for manager, David Moyes, as the central midfield position in United’s side has been highlighted as a key reason for their stuttering title defence. Moyes will be hoping Fletcher’s timely return can serve as a boost in United’s attempts to salvage a top four place.