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Strachan standing by Fletcher
18 Jan, 2013 8:50 PM GMT
New Scotland boss Gordon Strachan says Darren Fletcher still has an 'integral' role to play after it emerged he would miss the rest of the season.
The Manchester United midfielder has suffered from a chronic bowel complaint that has kept him out for the best part of two years and has undergone surgery in a bid to finally clear the illness for good.
In a statement issued by the Scottish FA, Strachan said: "On behalf of the Scotland supporters, the national squad and backroom team, I wish Darren the best of luck in his recovery from the surgery that has been confirmed by his club.
"I spoke with Darren on Tuesday and know that the decision to have the operation has been taken in the interests of his long-term health and with the full backing of the medical staff at Manchester United.
"Darren's commitment and pride in playing for his country is an example to any professional footballer, as has been demonstrated by his availability for the recent World Cup qualifiers and the international challenge match against Luxembourg.
"I'm sure I speak for all Scotland fans when I say I hope that the operation allows Darren to overcome his condition and resume his role as a major influence for club and country in his own time.
"In the meantime, I have stressed to him that, as captain, he remains an integral part of the international set-up and that he is welcome to join up with the squad at any time during his recovery."
Fletcher, who earned his 61st cap against Luxembourg, will miss the World Cup qualifiers against Wales, Serbia and Croatia.