Fletcher left out of Utd tour
Darren Fletcher will miss Man Utd's pre-season tour of the USA to continue his recovery from a virus.
By Hayley Paterson
Last Updated: 09/07/11 5:25pm
Darren Fletcher will miss Manchester United's pre-season tour of the United States to continue his recovery from a virus.
The Scotland skipper was sidelined for nearly all of the Red Devils' Premier League title run-in last season after being struck down by a virus which led to the midfielder losing a massive amount of weight.
It had been hoped Fletcher would be able to feature in United's UEFA Champions League final against Barcelona, but the 26-year-old was not even fit enough for the bench.
Sir Alex Ferguson was then optimistic the midfield maestro would play a big part in their trip across the Atlantic which begins on Monday, however he has been left at home to recover.
Fletcher's next targets will be to get fit for Paul Scholes' testimonial match against New York Cosmos on 5th August and the Community Shield showdown two days later against Manchester City before the Premier League season opener at West Brom.
"Darren will remain at Carrington to undergo an individualised conditioning programme given he missed a large proportion of last season," a club spokesman said.
"This will help him catch up fitness-wise to the levels of the rest of the team.
"We tried to accelerate things but we want to give him the best opportunity to be fully fit for the new season. We feel a reduction in the amount of time Darren spends travelling will help him achieve this."
With the absence of Fletcher, Ferguson will take an initial squad of 21 with him including new signing Ashley Young, who has claimed the number 18 shirt previously worn by Paul Scholes.
David de Gea and Phil Jones, numbers one and four respectively, loan returns Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck, Mexican marksman Javier Hernandez and centre-back Chris Smalling, who has just penned a new five-year deal at the club, will all join the tour later having been given an extended break.
Darron Gibson and Tomasz Kuszczak will miss out on the trip as both players appear unlikely to be at Old Trafford come August.
Other loan stars Federico Macheda and Mame Biram Diouf will be part of the tour team along with Nani and Dimitar Berbatov despite speculation of a summer move away from the red side of Manchester.
United's tour opener begins with a tricky test against New England Revolution in Boston on Wednesday before heading to Seattle, Chicago, New Jersey and Washington.