Fletcher grateful for warm reception

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Darren Fletcher of Manchester United comes on for Ryan Giggs in the match against Aston Villa. Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Birmingham, United Kingdom – Darren Fletcher thanked Manchester United's supporters after being granted a warm reception on his return to the team on Sunday following a year on the sidelines through illness.

Fletcher came on as a 70th-minute substitute in United's 3-0 win at Aston Villa in the Premier League, having not played since December 26 last year due to a chronic bowel condition.

United's fans chanted 'There's only one Darren Fletcher!' as the Scotland midfielder prepared to come on in place of Ryan Giggs at Villa Park, and he said he had been humbled by their reaction.

“It really means a lot and it spurs me on to do well for them,” he said, in comments published on United's official Twitter page.

“I don't want to take it easy, I want to get us back to where I know we should be. That's the biggest motivation for me.”

Fletcher's team-mates also welcomed the 29-year-old's return, with goalkeeper David de Gea tweeting: “Good 3 points!! But most important thing Fletcher back in team!! Well done Darren!!”

Defender Rio Ferdinand wrote: “Great result today at villa park. Welcome back Mr Fletcher! Well deserved after working so hard after being out.”

Fletcher's return is a timely boost for United manager David Moyes, who is currently without key central midfielder Michael Carrick due to an Achilles injury. – Sapa-AFP

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