Manchester United's Fletcher desperate to avoid surgery

Darren Fletcher is hoping a pain-easing injection will delay the need for ankle surgery until next summer.

The Manchester United midfielder returned to action after a month on the sidelines in Tuesday's six-goal thriller with CSKA Moscow.

It should mean Fletcher will face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, when United attempt to depose the current Premier League leaders.

However, the Scotland star knows he will still be experiencing an element of discomfort from a long-standing injury he aggravated against Sunderland last month, which he accepts will eventually consign him to surgery.

"A bit of bone has broken off the back of my ankle and stuck out about an inch," he revealed.

"Every time I bend it is causing a bit of pain so I have had an injection to clear it up for a while.

"It should be okay to the end of the season but the plan is to get me through to the summer and then do something then."

Scotland's failure to qualify for next year's World Cup Finals in South Africa provides the perfect gap for Fletcher to have the operation.

"I have had it for a couple of years now and the build-up of fluid and other medical things the doctors know more about than me has been constantly aggravating it," he said.

"Striking a ball or bending the ankle in a flexed position or pushing off it hurts.

"It got to the point where it was too sore to train and play. Something had to be done and I had the injection."

It would seem certain Fletcher will be one of the first names on Sir Alex Ferguson's team-sheet on Sunday.

Certainly, United missed Fletcher's battling qualities against Liverpool a fortnight ago, with the hole his injury left proving just as troublesome to fill as it did in Rome last May, when Barcelona ran riot in the Champions League final.

Ferguson is unlikely to leave his team similarly exposed at the weekend now Fletcher is a proven top-class performer.

For a player whose early days in the Red Devils' first-team were dismissed rather crudely, the plaudits that have followed recently must sound nice.

But Fletcher insists he is not taking them too seriously.

"I take the compliments with a pinch of salt," he said.

"I enjoy these matches as much as anyone and I put pressure on myself to perform more than anyone does.

"The challenge of playing against the top-class players that Chelsea have is one I look forward to and I will be doing my best to win the match.

"But I am not going to make or break a game like this."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz