Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher will miss the start of the new Premier League season.
Fletcher is still suffering from the chronic bowel complaint that forced him to take a break from the game in December.
The 28-year-old is yet to resume training and United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that, even if it came down to the worst-case scenario and Fletcher had to retire from the game, he would still be offered a role at the club.
“He has not started training with us, he has obviously got great challenges ahead,” Ferguson told reporters.
“We are happy to be patient but he won’t be starting the season.
“It is unfortunate because he is such a magnificent professional and such a nice lad. If it doesn’t work for him, he knows he has a position at the club anyway.”
Fletcher has made exactly 300 appearances for the club since making his debut in 2003.