Not just one, but two Fletcher’s have returned to the Scotland set up ahead of some crucial World Cup qualifiers against Belgium and Wales.
Scotland’s start to the qualifying campaign has not been a disaster however two points from two games is a bit of a disappointment. Scotland drew their first qualifier against Macedonia despite having an endless number of chances to win against Macedonia. They also came up short against Serbia with another draw under their belts and should have won the game in my opinion after squandering a catalogue of errors and also taking 82 minutes for Levein to bring on Jordan Rhodes.
Scotland have some great news with the return to fitness of Darren Fletcher this season. The Manchester United midfield anchor-man has been greatly missed for club and country. The job that Fletcher does in midfield is fantastic for the rest of the side, with Fletcher in the side it allows the other midfielders and strikers more freedom to move forward which is what I think Scotland lacked in their first two qualifiers. Fletcher’s presence in the Manchester United midfield has already been noticed this season after only three appearances receiving a standing ovation from the Old Trafford crowd and great performances in the central of midfield against both Newcastle and Cluj in the Champions League. Manchester United entertained Newcastle in the Capital One Cup at Old Trafford winning the game 2-1 with a youthful side and Fletcher added that experience and was always there to help out Scott Wootton and Michael Keane in defence. I think his return to the squad will mean that Scotland will attack more and not sit back as much as they have done already this qualifying campaign.
Levein has received some criticism in the past because of the style of football Scotland play despite having fantastic attacking talent at his disposal. In form Jordan Rhodes as mentioned to 82 minutes to make an appearance against Macedonia last month whereas Steven Fletcher has just returned to the squad after a fall out with the manager. With the return of Steven Fletcher to the squad and having players like Rhodes available to the manager means that goals should not be hard to come by on the international stage as both strikers are in top form.
This summer Steven Fletcher moved to Sunderland in a move which cost the £15 million with some asking the question, is he worth it? After his performances so far this season he has started to pay of the sum that Sunderland paid for him. Fletcher has already scored five goals this Premier League season in five games for Sunderland and has solved Sunderland’s need for scoring goals as they were a bit shy in front of goal last season and could better last season’s position of 13th.
Scotland face a tough test from Wales later on this month with Gareth Bale being the main man to watch out for with Ramsey and Allen in midfield to, however some good news is that James Collins is suspended for the game after being sent off against Belgium. Belgium also offer a massive threat to Scotland with the talent they have in their squad which includes: Lukaku, Mirallas, Mertens, Fellaini, Witsel, Vertonghen, Kompany, Vermaelen, Dembele and many more.
Scotland currently sit fourth in group A and require at least four points from the next two games to keep on track for a place in Brazil in 2014.