Well it was only a stone’s throw period of time ago that Steven Fletcher was being dubbed the most expensive misdistribution of money since the film John Carter or the Montreal Olympic Games. Now in that oh so typically forgetful and fickle way that only football knows it is an absolute bargain.
The evidence is pretty strong to support this case; Fletcher has scored five goals in his first four Premier League appearances for The Black Cats against Swansea, Liverpool, West Ham and Wigan to the rather delightful tune of six points gained; at the end of the season that could be worth the paltry and consistently interchangeable sum of between £12 and £14 million that Martin O’Neill convinced Ellis Short to stump up for the Scotland international.
He has been doing this for a while now, in the Burnley Premier League adventure he was the shining light and Wolves recognised this, where he again found the net despite some quite woeful performances going on in his proximity.
Now however brings us to the point of his international career, which has been going all awry. Steven Fletcher has played for Scotland since under-19 level, being a key member of a side that got to the final of the 2006 under-19 Euro’s; losing to a Spanish side consisting of Juan Mata, Javi Garcia and Gerard Pique.
Born in Shewsbury to a Liverpudlian father his family moved to Scotland after the sad passing of his father when Fletcher was just 10. He made his debut for Scotland against Croatia in a friendly in 2008 and has since played eight times for the Tartan Army scoring once against Iceland.
A huge and rather public row after Scotland’s infamous 4-6-0 formation against the Czech Republic has been the catalyst for the international wilderness for Fletcher.
The first question is have England missed a trick on the Sunderland striker?
His availability for England would have been subject to some serious litigation and an entire mountain of paperwork but others have turned their backs on international ‘A’ caps before. Thiago Motta played at the CONCACAF Gold Cup for Brazil yet featured for Italy at this summer’s European Championship. He would have been a better option than Andy Carroll, surely?
But he has made it clear he wants to play for Scotland, yet since informing current coach Craig Levein of his unavailability via text in February 2011 he has not been considered by the principled Dunfaurliner, but now, after seeing Scotland struggle for goals Levein has listened to his sat-nav and made a U-turn, recalling Fletcher for the games with Wales and Belgium later this month.
Craig Levein is on borrowed time at the helm, the fact remains that he should most likely have lost his job after that ludicrous 4-6-0 debacle at home against the Czech’s.
Levein is desperate and the chance to play Fletcher will be welcomed with open arms, despite Levein describing the amount spent on Fletcher as ‘obscene’. Goals are priceless, and Fletcher is proof in the pudding, a pudding that followers of the Scotland side haven’t tasted quite enough recently.
Should Levein have accepted him back? Will Steven Fletcher save his job? Should England have tested FIFA and tried reversing his allegiance?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald