Darren Fletcher: Ex-Scotland captain would be hesitant to return to play given condition

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Former Manchester United and Scotland midfielder Darren Fletcher says he would be hesitant about returning to football during the current pandemic because of his high-risk condition.

The 36-year-old was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2011.

Fletcher, who left Stoke City at the end of last season, says he would be particularly vulnerable to the virus.

 

“With my illness I would be one of those players that is a high risk,” he told BBC Radio Scotland’s Sportsound.

“I’d be very concerned about that, but at the same time I love playing.”

The Premier League is hoping to return to action on 12 June, with matches played behind closed doors.

 

On Thursday, the UK government said it was “opening the door” for the return of professional football in England in June.

However, Fletcher believes the players themselves are far from convinced.

“It’s a massive concern. We’re not out of this situation by any means,” said the former Scotland captain.

 

“Footballers will not only be concerned for themselves and their lives and the rest of their careers but they’ll be worried about bringing it back to their family.

“Sport is important to everyone and we’ve all missed it but we’re talking about matters of life and death here and I think that guarantees would have to be in place – but who can guarantee that players are going to be safe?

“I don’t think anyone can guarantee that at this moment in time.”

 

‘I probably won’t play again’

Fletcher, who won five Premier League titles at Old Trafford and earned 80 caps for Scotland, has not played for a professional club since his two-year stint at Stoke came to an end last summer.

Although the Scot believes he is still capable of playing at a high level, he does not expect to continue his playing career.

“I haven’t officially announced anything and I’m just happy to let time pass,” he said.

“It has been a long time now and I think I have finally got my head around that I probably won’t be playing again. I don’t think I’ll ever fully accept it but I’m getting there now.”

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