Barry Bannan says Steven Fletcher has been left “devastated” by missing Scotland’s Euro qualifiers.
The midfielder insisted there was nothing suspicious about his Sheffield Wednesday team-mate’s absence and revealed that Fletcher, inset, had taken a painkilling injection to play for his club in midweek.
Questions have been raised over the Scottish FA’s explanation for the 31-year-old’s omission from the squad for the Euro 2020 qualifying double-header in Kazakhstan and San Marino this week.
The governing body said Fletcher was “managing an injury” but this did not prevent the player starting and scoring for Wednesday against Bolton on Tuesday and Blackburn yesterday.
However, Bannan said the striker has genuine fitness concerns.
“Basically he had a knee op last season and we need to watch him really. He has a knee problem and his ankle has not been great either,” said Bannan. “I think he had an injection to play on Tuesday. These are ongoing things that he needs to take care of. He has come back well and played a lot of games but with it [the Kazakhstan game] being astrograss it’s probably a good decision not to risk him in this.
“I think he will have treatment going on while we are over there playing. The club is just managing him and he is obviously devastated because he did so well in the last trip [scoring against Albania].”
Scotland assistant Peter Grant insists he is “not aware of commitment issues”.
“Fletch has had a history of long term injuries, so we’ve also had to be conscious of that,” Grant said. “We’re very aware of players who have previously had serious injury problems and we’ve got to be very careful with them.
“I don’t think there’s any commitment issues – definitely not when we’ve seen them on the training ground.”