Ill Fletcher in doubt for start of season

Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher could miss the beginning of the new season due to a recurrence of his mystery stomach virus.Fletcher was sidelined for the final two months of the last campaign due to the illness, which caused him to dramatically lose weight.

Officials banished him from United’s pre-season tour of the United States in order to rest up, and concerns over the midfielder’s health only grew after he failed to report for training on July 4.

It is believed he has been ordered to stay away from the club’s training facilities at Carrington in order to recuperate. With the English Premier League season set to kick off on August 13, Fletcher faces a race against time to be fit.

The 27-year-old’s health problems will only reinforce United’s determination to sign Wesley Sneijder from Inter Milan.

In Fletcher’s absence, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson can only count on Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick and Anderson to fill the central midfield positions.

Ferguson could also turn to Darron Gibson, although the Irishman is believed to be heading out of Old Trafford despite a proposed transfer to Sunderland having fallen through.