SCOTLAND manager Gordon Strachan has given a clear hint that captain Darren Fetcher could be part of the national side by the time the Euro 2016 campaign kicks off.
The Manchester United midfielder has been battling a chronic bowel condition and, with just seven starts in the past two years, his last first-team appearance for the Old Trafford club was as an 89th-minute substitute in the 4-3 win against Newcastle on Boxing Day last year. But he returned to training last month and Strachan indicated that his return to the top of his game remains on track, with Manchester United insiders suggesting he could be back in competitive action before the end of this month.
The national manager has made no secret of his desire to have the 29-year-old back in his team. In the wake of the 2-0 World Cup qualifying win over Croatia, an upbeat Strachan said that he had spoken to Fletcher on Thursday
Strachan said: “I really enjoyed the phone call. You would have to speak to Manchester United and Darren about his progress but, yes, I did really enjoy the phone call.”
Fletcher’s struggle with ulcerative colitis means that he was available for only two of Scotland’s ten World Cup qualifiers. He earned his last cap in a friendly win over Luxembourg in November 2012. Strachan got a further boost yesterday when striker Steven Fletcher returned to the Sunderland squad after a shoulder injury. In the game at Swansea he started and played 82 minutes but his side were crushed 4-0.