Playing for Chris Wilder’s exciting, high-flying team certainly gets a player recognised, as has happened to four United players in particular this season.
The belated call-up of John Fleck by Scotland is reward for two seasons of consistent, outstanding performances.
It’s notable too that Alec McLeish went for Fleck as a replacement ahead of Barry Bannan, which surely is as a result of playing in a better team.
Fleck’s prior absence from Scotland squads has been derided by Blades fans, and there’s an element of justification in such feelings.
There is no argument with the selection of Ryan Fraser, who has had an exceptional start to the season, or Tom Cairney or Kevin McDonald, both excellent last season, or even any Celtic players, but picking players from other Scottish clubs leaves some scratching their heads.
Celtic apart, every other Scottish Premiership team would struggle in the Championship, and you only have to look at some of the players doing well in Scotland to gauge the standard.
Scottish Premiership squads are stocked with players who were once good but are now past it – Matt Kilgallon, Aaron Hughes, Steve McLean, Chris Burke – and English lower league cast-offs – Uche Ikpeazu, Sean Clare, Trevor Carson, Curtis Main.
We have seen it in the past at the Lane; Michael Higdon and Anthony Stokes were big stars in Scotland, but did nothing here.
Domestic Scottish football is poor, as evidenced by their clubs’ mediocre efforts in Europe and the national team’s years of failure.
Surely England-based players are the better option. It’s a pity Fleck didn’t get on against Israel.
Finally, congratulations to Kieron Freeman on his international debut and to John Egan and Enda Stevens on their continued progress with Ireland.