Manchester United legend Paddy Crerand fears that fellow Scotsman Darren Fletcher has played his last game for the club.
Fletcher, who is still battling bravely against Ulcerative Collitis, hasn’t appeared for United since December and has featured just twenty times for the club in the last two seasons.
The 29-year-old missed the second half of the 2011-12 season through the career-threatening illness and has played only a handful of times this campaign before being ruled out with what Ferguson called a planned operation.
In his few outings this campaign, many noted an understandable dip in the industrious Scots performances and Crerand believes it is unlikely Fletcher will return for United.
“I love Darren Fletcher and I hate to say this, but I wouldn’t expect to see him playing again for Manchester United,” he said.
“It’s a dreadful thing to say and I hope I’m totally wrong, but I don’t think I’m going to be wrong.
“He’s not been heard of, he’s not played anywhere, he’s not done anything and I think it would be a miracle if he did come back.
“It’s a shame for the lad. If you’re doing something you love doing, it’s heartbreaking.”
Fletcher, whose last competitive action came during the boxing day clash with Newcastle United, has looked a little off colour whenever he has played over the last few years, with many echoing Crerand’s views.
Scotland’s skipper was famed for his high-energy displays in the centre of midfield and he was a key player for United with many partly attributing Champions League final losses over Barcelona to Fletcher’s absence.
However, the lung-busting displays have vanished with Fletcher effectively reinventing himself as an anchoring midfielder whenever he has played this season.
It is such a terrible shame as in theory, Fletcher should be entering his peak years in a red shirt but a return is looking less likely by the week by a man who was and is a top player, professional and most of all a human being.