Sheffield United and Scotland midfielder, John Fleck, has been one of the standout performers for the Blades this season.
Despite missing a couple of games through injury, Fleck has bounced back brilliantly. Luke Freeman came in and did a good job while he was out injured. However, Fleck has come back and shown his true value to the Blades cause.
He’s proven just why Chris Wilder continually selects him in the heart of midfield. A goal last month against Burnley capped a fine return to form for the Scottish midfielder.
Fleck brings balance and poise to the midfield three for United. He’s started to drive forward again and look more like the player we all saw last season after a nervy few opening Premier League matches.
With that form, has come the odd call-up to the international scene with Scotland. Manager Steve Clarke selecting Fleck for the most recent round of qualifiers.
However, Fleck once again played minimal part. He was unused as they won in Cyprus while he got only seven minutes under his belt against Kazakhstan. It is, on Fleck’s part and in the eyes of a lot of Blades fans, a criminal underuse of such a talented player.
Fleck to follow Norwood?
There should be no bigger honour than playing for your country. It’s the pinnacle of most players’ careers. Pulling on that famous shirt and making your mark for your birthplace.
But there comes a time when players have to consider if there’s a point in sticking at it. And this could well be the case with Fleck. He will have seen what fellow United midfielder, Ollie Norwood, did in the summer. Similar thoughts, then, might well be creeping in for him.
For many other countries, Fleck’s absence might be understandable. But with Scotland, there seems to be no logical reason why he keeps getting left out.
Sure, John McGinn has become the star for Steve Clarke’s men. There’s no doubt the Aston Villa man is the shining light in that team and he rightly gets the plaudits. Beyond McGinn though, there’s little else to write home about.
Furthermore, this week even saw Scott McTominay miss out through injury. The Manchester United man is another good player but with him missing, Clarke opted to go with Rangers midfielder, Ryan Jack, alongside Callum McGregor.
While Fleck might well accept not getting a starting place all the time if McTominay is fit, when he’s not available, it’s almost an insult he isn’t being selected.
Ryan Jack might be a good player in his own right but Fleck is playing the best he ever as, in the best league in the world.
He’s made top Premier League midfield players like Tanguy Ndombele and Granit Xhaka, to name but two, look average. That alone, should be enough to earn him the international nod.
For John Fleck to not be getting the start for Scotland when numbers are down is very strange indeed. And while there might be some bias from this writer, there’s not many Blades who will go against these thoughts.
Of course, for Sheffield United, it means Fleck stays fit and clear of injury. For Scotland, however, you can’t help but sense they are missing a trick with one of the top British central midfielders in the game.