Sunderland’s Fletcher’s return relished by Scotland

Sunderland's Steven Fletcher

Sunderland's Steven Fletcher

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SCOTLAND boss Gordon Strachan admits he is relishing the international return of Steven Fletcher, five months after the Sunderland striker was injured representing his country.

Strachan bowed to the good sense of not calling up the 26-year-old up for international duty in the current round of games against Belgium and Macedonia, with Fletcher having only 45 minutes first-team football under his belt after returning from the ankle injury sustained against Wales in March.

But Strachan, who watched his side lose 2-0 to the Belgians on Friday with Wolves striker Leigh Griffiths leading the line, is coveting the Sunderland forward’s return.

He is likely to turn to either Jordan Rhodes, Jamie Mackie or Ross McCormack for the lone striker’s slot against Macedonia, with McCormack the favourite.

But Fletcher continues to occupy Strachan’s thoughts:

“When Steven returns it will be a big boost,” he said. “There is absolutely no doubt of that.

“He is a top player and can play any system.

“Steven’s game all round is top class.

“We have to try different people but we are not blessed at the moment with strikers saying they must play.

“Jamie Mackie has only played a couple of games for Nottingham Forest and didn’t play much last year for QPR.

“You have Jordan whose Blackburn team were fourth bottom of the Championship last year and Leigh who is in League One.

“You look at that and you think it is hard work to go from where they are playing to play against a team like Belgium.”