Sheffield Wednesday: Steven Fletcher reveals the risk he couldn’t take after choosing Owls over Scotland
Sheffield Wednesday striker Steven Fletcher has revealed the reason he was unable to join up with the Scottish national team over the international break, despite his blistering form in the Championship since the turn of the new year.
The Owls front man has bagged five goals in his last six Championship matches, but was forced to turn down an international call up because Scotland are due to play on an artificial pitch.
Fletcher told the Star: “I definitely feel fit, I feel strong and when you feel like that going into a game it's always a bonus. You feel good about yourself. I think being injury free helps that.
“It's been highlighted the game in Kazakhstan is on an artificial pitch and with the knee injury I picked up, I had it for a long time and I can't take a chance on aggravating it again - especially with the way I am feeling right now it would just put me back to square one again.
“On doctor's advice and kind of personal advice I thought it would be best to leave it. Obviously against Blackburn I picked up another knock so touch wood that's alright. I wish the lads all the best and hopefully they can go over there and get the points we need.”
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Fletcher got on the score sheet for the Owls in last weekend's 4-2 win over Tony Mowbray’s Blackburn at Hillsborough, but was substituted in the second half after sustaining a groin strain.
The 31-year-old also hobbled off after a challenge two matches earlier against Derby County, but returned to fitness in time for last week’s Tuesday night trip to Bolton Wanderers.
It is hoped that Fletcher will be back in action in time for the trip to Stoke after the break, but Wednesday will also have fellow Scot Barry Bannan back at Middlewood Road this week after the midfield talisman pulled out of the squad due to play Kazakhstan on Thursday afternoon after also picking up a knock in Saturday’s win.
The Owls’ only representative for the first stage of Scotland’s Euro 2020 qualifying campaign will be Worksop-born Liam Palmer, who was called up to Alex McLeish’s squad for the first time, much to Fletcher’s delight.
“I've been pushing for Palms to get in for a long time because he's been brilliant,” he said.
“I think people kind of forgot that he played for Scotland so it's great for him and it's great for the country as well to see what he's about because he's been brilliant for us.
"I've been giving him a couple of Irn Brus.”