Sheffield United: Scotland manager Steve Clarke pays the price for his predecessors’ refusal to reward John Fleck

The sight of John Fleck's name being omitted from a Scotland squad will come as no surprise to Sheffield United supporters who, until his call-up for March's games against Kazakhstan and San Marino, used to take it as read the midfielder's talents would be overlooked.

Tuesday, 28th May 2019, 2:55 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th May 2019, 5:22 pm
New Scotland manager Steve Clarke: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

On this occasion, however, at least there is a valid reason behind his absence. Fleck, as Steve Clarke revealed when he unveiled his first picks since replacing Alex McLeish, is scheduled to get married when the latest round of Euro 2020 qualifiers take place.

Clarke's decision to explain why Fleck did not feature in among the 27 players selected for next month's meetings with Cyprus and Belgium bodes well for his future at international level. Indeed, by choosing to tackle the subject head on, the former Chelsea defender appeared to suggest Fleck would have been conscripted had he not been otherwise engaged.

But Clarke is almost certainly paying the price for the refusal of his predecessors McLeish and Gordon Strachan to recognise the 27-year-old's talents. Had they done so, it seems inconceivable Fleck and his fiance would have scheduled their nuptials to clash with the Group I fixtures.

Sign up to our Sheffield United newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Sheffield United's John Fleck celebrates promotion to the Premier League: Dave Howarth/PA Wire

Fleck, who helped United gain promotion from the Championship last term, will hope to earn his first senior cap when Scotland host Russia and Roberto Martínez's side in September.

Former United centre-forward Marc McNulty, now of Reading, has been included in Clarke's latest set of plans following an impressive loan spell with Hibernian.

John Fleck: James Wilson/Sportimage
Sheffield United's John Fleck (left) and Mark Duffy (right): Dave Howarth/PA Wire