Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Fletcher misses United tour

Darren Fletcher

Darren Fletcher will miss Manchester United's pre-season tour of the United States.

The Scotland captain was sidelined for nearly all United's Premier League title run-in after being struck down by a virus which triggered significant weight loss.

It was envisaged Fletcher would have fully recovered during the summer and he would be on Monday's flight across the Atlantic but when United confirmed their travelling party on Saturday, Fletcher was not in it.

Instead the 26-year-old will remain in Manchester, spared the accumulation of travelling time to spend the next three weeks trying to get himself right for the new campaign.

If all goes well, Fletcher could be involved in Paul Scholes' testimonial against New York Cosmos on August 5, or the Community Shield showdown against Manchester City two days later.

But Fletcher knows if he fails to play a significant amount over the course of those two games, the chances of him being involved in the Premier League season opener at West Brom will be slim.

A United spokeswoman said: "Darren will remain at Carrington to undergo an individualised conditioning programme given he missed a large proportion of last season. This will help him catch up fitness-wise to the levels of the rest of the team.

"We tried to accelerate things but we want to give him the best opportunity to be fully fit for the new season. We feel a reduction in the amount of time Darren spends travelling will help him achieve this."

Of his new signings, only England international Ashley Young will be on board, having taken the number 18 shirt vacated by newly-retired Paul Scholes.

David de Gea and Phil Jones, who will wear one and four respectively, have both been given an extended break and will join later in the tour along with Tom Cleverley, Danny Welbeck, Javier Hernandez and Chris Smalling, who signed a new five-year contract on Friday.