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United's Fletcher returns to action with reserves

Manchester United's Darren Flectcher (L) laughs during a training session at the Carrington complex in Manchester, northern England, Septemb
Manchester United's Darren Flectcher (L) laughs during a training session at the Carrington complex in Manchester, northern England, Septemb

(Reuters) - Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher has made a return to competitive action, playing 67 minutes for the club's under-21 team as he battles back from a chronic illness.

The 29-year-old Scotland captain announced in November 2011 that he was taking an extended break from the game after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a bowel condition.

He has missed most of the past two seasons, and last appeared for United's senior team on December 26 2012.

He made his latest comeback in a 2-2 draw against Fulham's under-21 team on Monday.

"It's been a long time so it's good to get back tonight," Fletcher told the Manchester United television channel.

"I've been training for a few weeks now and the next progression is to get some match-time. I enjoyed it.

"The plan was to get to half-time and see how I felt. Then get to 60 minutes and take it from there and, although I felt I could have gone on a bit longer, the plan was not to play more than that so I'm better sticking to the plan and not upsetting the sports science lads."

(Writing by Josh Reich; Editing by John O'Brien)

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