Sheffield Wednesday: Steven Fletcher - the Hillsborough gladiator

Steven Fletcher
Steven Fletcher
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Stick a crested helmet on his head and put a sword in his hand and the physically-imposing Steven Fletcher might just pass for a Roman centurion.

But according to Carlos Carvalhal such measures would not be needed to turn the Scottish striker into Sheffield Wednesday’s very own gladiator.

Fletcher has had his share of injury problems since arriving at Hillsborough 14 months ago and is niggled by an on-going knee issue.

But head coach Carvalhal insists he is confident that whenever the 30-year-old is selected, he can power past the pain barrier – even if his style of play can lead to further injuries.

“He’s a gladiator,” Carvalhal said.

“He’s a player who gives everything on the pitch and that is very important to us.

“We start with him because he’s a player who gives everything from the first to the last minute in the games.

“He’s a fighter but these players who give everything can be with more problems sometimes at the same intensity or level.”

Fletcher is enjoying a rich vein of form while he and Gary Hooper have forged a potent partnership to become the first-choice attacking duo at the club.

It means Carvalhal is keen to ensure the forward is at his best physically, which is why he was withdrawn during Tuesday night’s win over Brentford.

“He played Saturday and Tuesday again,” Carvalhal explained.

“It is more difficult trying to manage the players in the short spaces between the games.

“But he can play a full game if necessary.

“Maybe he will need more time to regenerate after the 90 minutes. Probably.

“All the time we have players who are fresh and ready to play.”

While eager to rid Fletcher of his knee problems, Carvalhal has ruled out surgery or injections for the Scotland international.

And he is confidence Fletcher will make it through the season without an extended period on the sidelines.

He said: “I think he will.

“[Surgery], it is not a question.

“We must manage him the best way, like we must all the players.

“Something can happen of course.

“It happened with George Boyd and Fernando Forestieri.

“Fletcher is a player who is ready to play and we can use him in all the games.

“No problem.”

Fletcher has scored three goals in seven appearances so far this season – all of which have come when partnered with Hooper, who has four goals to his name.