Fletcher out for season
Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher has been ruled out for the rest of the season after undergoing surgery to cure his chronic bowel condition. Fletcher has been struggling with ulcerative colitis for nearly two years and missed the majority of last season as a result. This season the Scotland international had hoped to resume his role in United’s midfield but, after initially returning in September, he has made just two substitute appearances since starting the Premier League game at Reading on Dec. 1. “Darren Fletcher will be unavailable for the remainder of this season having undergone surgery to resolve his ulcerative colitis condition,” United revealed in a statement on Thursday. “We wish to stress this was a planned procedure undertaken at the optimal time having achieved a period of sustained good general health, as illustrated by the fact that Darren has trained with the team regularly this season and been available for selection right up to the operation. Whilst it is frustrating for both Darren and the club that he won’t be able to contribute further during this campaign, this decision has been taken with our full support in the best interests of his long term health and we look forward to him returning next season with this problem firmly behind him.”
Reid played with broken leg
West Bromwich Albion right back Steven Reid played the second half of their 2-0 defeat at Arsenal early last month with a fractured fibula, manager Steve Clarke said on Thursday. Reid is unlikely to feature in today’s Premier League derby against Aston Villa at the Hawthorns after taking a knock in the same area as a late substitute in Tuesday’s 1-0 FA Cup third round replay loss at home to Queens Park Rangers. “Steven went to see the doctor this morning,” said Clarke, who is hoping the Irishman will be back in training next week. “He has been out for a number of weeks and we didn’t release the full nature of the injury. It was a fractured fibula against Arsenal and he effectively played 45 minutes with a broken leg. That tells you the character of the boy. He came back on Tuesday and got another knock in the same area. It’s not serious but he’ll probably miss the weekend and that will be more our decision than Steven’s. We’re trying to protect Steven from himself a little bit.”
Rodgers slams Suarez
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has criticized Luis Suarez after the striker said he dived while playing for the Merseyside club in a Premier League match in October. The Uruguay forward admitted to “falling” in an attempt to win a penalty during a goalless draw against Stoke, but no spot kick was awarded. Rodgers has described the Uruguay forward’s behavior as “unacceptable” and said the club would look to take action. Rodgers said: “I have spoken to Luis and it will be dealt with internally.”
City headline Asian line-up
Manchester City will headline the Asia Trophy in Hong Kong later this year as the Premier League champions join English top-flight rivals Tottenham and Sunderland in the pre-season tournament. City, Tottenham and Sunderland will compete with local side South China FC at the biennial knockout event from July 24 to July 27. It will be City’s second appearance in the tournament, having finished third in Thailand in 2005, and their second successive pre-season trip to the Far East after touring China and Malaysia last year.