Liam Palmer contends Steven Fletcher is playing the best football of his career and is hopeful that the Sheffield Wednesday striker might re-commit to Scotland.
Palmer is as well placed as anyone to judge Fletcher’s form as he has been aiming to feed the centre-forward from right-back all season. Palmer has missed only two league games and Fletcher has struck five times in 11 appearances to help Wednesday assert themselves as Championship promotion candidates once again.
Palmer believes Fletcher “might be tempted” to return if Scotland can seal a Euro 2020 place.
The Worksop-born right-back is back in Steve Clarke’s squad having been allowed to return home before the last double header against Russia and Belgium because his wife Beth was about to give birth to their third child, Honor.
Fletcher, meanwhile, has not appeared for Scotland since playing a significant role as then manager Alex McLeish’s side sealed a play-off place at the end of last year.
Clarke has since reported that the striker’s absence is because he has “issues with a part of his body”. Fletcher, pictured, has continued to star for Wednesday, much to the chagrin of the Tartan Army.
“Fletch is doing great,” said Palmer. “He was struggling with his ankle last week – he cleared a free-kick.
“He is keen on looking after himself. He is always in the gym. He is even bigger now!
“He is obsessed with getting himself right to play as many games as possible. It is difficult the role he has to play for us because we rely on him heavily as that target man. It’s the job he did for Scotland, too, when getting us to the Nations League play-offs.”
Asked whether he had a clearer indication of Fletcher’s international intentions, he stressed it was a question for the player himself.
“You wold have to ask him,” he said. “I am not sure. In terms of his age and things he is looking at future tournaments and whether it’s right for him, that it is hard for me to say.
“Definitely the way he is performing, which is all I can go on, he has been one of our best players this season.”
One way of luring the 32-year-old back is qualifying for Euro 2020, with Scotland potentially two games away from reaching a first major finals in over 20 years.
“Maybe, maybe,” said Palmer. “He might be tempted. He loves football, he loves playing. The boys love him, especially the older, experienced guys. It would be great if he did go down that road. I have been with him for a number of years now and the start he has made this season has been terrific.