Man Utd's Darren Fletcher 'not ready' to train but starts coaching

Scotland captain Darren Fletcher says he is not yet ready to return to training due to illness but has been coaching Manchester United's reserves.

The 27-year-old midfielder is currently sidelined with ulcerative collitis, a bowel condition.

"I've been really enjoying the coaching," he told BBC Scotland's Sportscene.

"I'm passing on advice to these players and it also gets me out of the house and keeps me busy."

Last December, Fletcher announced that he was taking an "extended break" from football following medical advice.

His last game was the 2-2 Champions League home draw against Benfica on 22 November, in which he scored.

"I'm feeling okay," Fletcher said. "I'm still not ready to come back playing or training yet but I'm listening to the medical people and trying to get myself right.

"The challenge and the focus is to be ready for next season."

Fletcher said it proved "very difficult" to play with his current condition and that his general health also suffered.

He added: "Me and the medical team decided it'd be best if I tried to get myself right and take an extended period out from the game, then come back fully fit and ready to play.

"It's an unpredictable illness and you don't know what lies ahead of you. But I've got to keep staying strong and keep believing. That's an important side of it - positive thinking.

"I've received great support from everyone in Scotland and down in Manchester. I'm hopeful and really positive that I'll be back and back to my best."

During his enforced absence, Fletcher has been coaching the Manchester United reserves to keep him involved in the game.

"It's always something I've had a keen interest in - coaching and passing on advice to younger players who are at an important level at Manchester United in the reserves.

"The next step is first-team football, so [I'm] passing on advice to these players."

Scotland manager Craig Levein has not given up hope that Fletcher may be available for the start of 2014 World Cup qualifying in September.

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