(REUTERS) - Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher has made a return to competitive action, playing 67 minutes for the under-21 team as he battles back from a chronic illness.
The 29-year-old Scotland captain announced in November 2011 that he was taking an extended break from the game after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a bowel condition.
He has missed most of the past two seasons and last appeared for United's senior team on Dec 26 last year.
He made his latest comeback in a 2-2 draw against Fulham's under-21 team on Monday. "It's been a long time so it's good to get back tonight,"he told the Manchester United television channel. "I've been training for a few weeks now and the next progression is to get some match-time.
"The plan was to get to half-time and see how I felt. Then get to 60 minutes and take it from there and although I felt I could have gone on a bit longer, the plan was not to play more than that so I'm better sticking to the plan and not upsetting the sports science lads."