Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes Darren Fletcher’s long-term prospects can only be improved by the surgery which has ended his season.
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The Scotland midfielder has undergone an operation to resolve bowel condition ulcerative colitis.
Ferguson said on Friday: "This improves his prospects. I felt he wasn’t the Darren Fletcher of three or four years ago. When he comes back it will be in a different role. The boy’s attitude is absolutely brilliant."
Fletcher has been struggling with the problem since March 2011, although his extended absences from the United side were dismissed by Ferguson as a virus.
However, once it became obvious the Scotland captain could not play his way through the injury, United eventually confirmed the extent of the condition and that he was going to take a full break.
Fletcher even missed pre-season training last summer to ensure his comeback was a success, making his re-appearance as a substitute against Galatasaray at Old Trafford in September.
However, despite speaking optimistically about his recovery after a substitute appearance against CFR Cluj immediately after the Reading game in early December, a one-minute run-out against Newcastle on Boxing Day proved to be his 10th and final appearance of the campaign.
Ferguson was also asked his view on the Football Association’s decision to rescind the red card shown to Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany this week, which leaves the Belgian free to face Fulham.
The Scot was guarded in his response, but felt the national governing body could have paved the way for many more appeals by overturning the suspension.
He said: "Anything I say will be regarded as biased. It is unusual though. It opens the door but that is (the FA’s) problem."
Ferguson also confirmed that defender Jonny Evans was still out with a hamstring problem and would miss Sunday’s trip to Tottenham.