Scotland manager Craig Levein insists he will not rush Darren Fletcher back in to the international fold despite being encouraged by the midfielder's recent return to action.
Fletcher's future in football was thrown in to doubt in December when he was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a chronic inflammatory bowel condition. Fletcher has been making a steady recovery from the illness, however, and made his return to action 10 days ago when he came off the substitutes' bench in a benefit match for Aberdeen's Neil Simpson.
Fletcher took the captain's armband just before Levein took charge of the country in 2009 and the former Hearts manager had depended highly on the 28-year-old before he was struck down with his illness. Levein invited Fletcher to train with the squad prior to their win over Australia, but is conscious the Scot's rehabilitation will have to be a patient one.
"As soon as Manchester United feel he is capable of playing then he will be back in the squad for Scotland but I don't want to take any risks," Levein said.
Ulcerative colitis is a disease that affects around 120,000 people in the UK and causes inflammation of the large intestine. The illness causes severe pain and discomfort, and Levein has been impressed with the way Fletcher has dealt with it.
Levein said: "What he has been through in the last three or four years, lesser people would have folded 10 times over. He is a remarkable man, someone I love to have around the group. He is such a role model for the rest of our players. He is without a doubt the figurehead for the national team.
"He is someone who the rest of the players look up to as a player and as a human being. With somebody with the resilience and bravery he has got, I would never think he hasn't got the chance (of coming back)."
Levein says Fletcher's attitude is in complete contrast to his namesake Steven Fletcher. Fletcher completed his £12million move to Sunderland on Friday, making him the most expensive Scottish player in history.
The striker will not be allowed to return to the international fold, however, as Levein is still unhappy about the 25-year-old refusing to play for his country against Northern Ireland last year.
"The door is closed on Steven," said Levein, who was speaking at the Vauxhall Road to Brazil 2014 media conference in London. I spoke about Darren Fletcher and his desire to play for Scotland, and all he (Steven Fletcher) needed to do was send a text or make a phone call to play for his country. He didn't do it so as far as I am concerned the door is closed and we will move on without him."