Fletcher: I’m finally free of pain after two years
The Sunderland forward insists he is fitter than ever after completing a full pre-season – even reporting for training a week early – and starting all of his club’s Premier League matches so far this term.
Fletcher has fought ankle and achilles injuries in recent seasons in a battle to regain the form and fitness which made him Scottish football’s most expensive export at £12million. And he is now desperate to make up for lost time, and hopes to have the opportunity of testing himself against world champions Germany on Sunday night.
The former Hibs man said: “For the past two years, every time I have turned up for training I have always had something niggling away at me.
“This is the first time I have been able to train and not had a single pain. It’s been a really tough two years with the injuries and we had the disappointment of not qualifying for the World Cup. It’s been hard, but I’m glad I’m back playing and hopefully I can get a few goals.
“I’m only 27 and have a few more years to play for Scotland yet so hopefully I can get a lot more games and a few goals. It has been good to get back and enjoy a full, uninterrupted pre-season. It’s been a few years. Watching them in the World Cup, you could see Germany were a fantastic team. But we have good morale from the new manager and will go there confident.”
Even at full fitness, Fletcher faces a battle for a shirt, with Scotland manager Gordon Strachan enjoying a welcome array of forward options. Steven Naismith, in particular, is enjoying a purple patch with Everton, netting three goals in three games in the Premier League and troubling Chelsea last weekend.