Steven Fletcher (footballer)

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Steven Fletcher
Cardiff v Sunderland Steven Fletcher.jpg
Fletcher (right) playing for Sunderland against Cardiff City in 2013
Personal information
Full name Steven Kenneth Fletcher
Date of birth (1987-03-26) 26 March 1987 (age 27)
Place of birth Shrewsbury, England
Height 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)[1]
Playing position Striker
Club information
Current team
Sunderland
Number 9
Youth career
2000–2004 Hibernian
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2004–2009 Hibernian 156 (43)
2009–2010 Burnley 35 (8)
2010–2012 Wolverhampton Wanderers 61 (22)
2012– Sunderland 48 (14)
National team
2007 Scotland U20[2] 6 (1)
2006–2008 Scotland U21 7 (5)
2007 Scotland B[3] 1 (0)
2008– Scotland[4] 15 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 19:03, 16 March 2014 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 20:55, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

Steven Kenneth Fletcher (born 26 March 1987) is a Scottish international footballer, who currently plays as a striker for Premier League club Sunderland.

Fletcher began his club career with Hibernian, playing in 156 Scottish Premier League games and scoring 43 goals. English club Burnley paid a club record transfer fee of £3 million to sign Fletcher in June 2009. He was their top goalscorer in the 2009–10 season with eight league goals, but the club were relegated from the Premier League.

Fletcher was transferred soon afterwards to Wolves, who also paid a club record fee, of £6.5 million, for his services. He scored 24 goals in 68 appearances for Wolves, but the club were relegated from the Premier League in 2012. Fletcher was then transferred to Sunderland for £12 million.

Fletcher played for the Scotland under-19 team that finished runners up to Spain in the 2006 European Championship. He has since represented Scotland twelve times at full international level, scoring one goal.

Early life[edit]

Fletcher, who was born in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, spent much of his early years living on British Army bases in England and Germany where his Liverpudlian soldier father, Kenny Fletcher was based.[5] His father died from cancer aged 37 when Fletcher was aged only 10, prompting his Scottish mother, Mary to relocate him and his younger sister Bree to Hamilton, South Lanarkshire to be closer to her family.[5][6] Hibernian youth coach John Park, also from Hamilton, spotted his footballing talent and the youngster joined the Leith club's youth network aged 13.[5]

Club career[edit]

Hibernian[edit]

Fletcher made his debut for Hibs towards the end of the 2003–04 season in a 3–0 win over Kilmarnock. He became a first team regular in the 2004–05 season, playing 26 times and scoring 5 goals. In the 2005–06 season, Fletcher scored 10 goals in just 1,966 minutes on the pitch, which approximated to a goal every other game. He took on a more prominent role in the 2006–07 season after Hibs had sold star strikers Garry O'Connor and Derek Riordan. Fletcher scored in Hibernian's 5–0 Intertoto Cup win over Dinaburg and played regularly during the league season. The highlight of the season for Fletcher and Hibs was when he scored two goals in the 5–1 win over Kilmarnock in the 2007 League Cup Final.

Fletcher became Hibs' main striker during the 2007–08 season. He scored his first professional hat-trick in a 4–2 win over Gretna and won the Scottish Football Writers' Young Player of the Year Award.[7] Fletcher was touted for a move to Real Madrid due to Madrid's scouts watching him after he performed well for Scotland's youth teams.[8] The Daily Mail reported in November 2008 that Manchester City and two other Premier League teams were interested in signing Fletcher[8] and the Daily Record reported on 1 January 2009 that Middlesbrough were "preparing" a £2.5 million offer.[9] Towards the end of the January transfer window, Hibs rejected an approach from Celtic.[10] Fletcher then publicly pleaded for Hibs to agree a deal with Celtic, arguing "for the development of my career it is time to move to a bigger club",[11] but Hibs refused to sell him.[12][13]

Burnley[edit]

On 26 June 2009, Burnley offered £2.75 million for Fletcher.[14] A few days later, Hibs accepted an offer of £3 million plus incentives based on appearances for Burnley.[15] Fletcher completed the move when he agreed a four-year contract with the Lancashire club, who paid a club record transfer fee to obtain his services.[16] After the move was completed, former Hibs striker Keith Wright questioned whether Fletcher was ready to play in the Premier League.[17] His first competitive goals for Burnley came when he scored a brace in a 2–1 League Cup win at Hartlepool on 25 August.[18] He scored his first goal in the Premier League on 3 October, against Birmingham City. Fletcher was Burnley's top goalscorer during the 2009–10 season,[19] but the club were relegated from the Premier League. He was named Burnley Players' Player of the year for the season.[19]

Wolverhampton Wanderers[edit]

After Burnley were relegated to the Championship, Fletcher signed a four-year contract, with the option of a fifth year, with Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers on 3 June 2010. He was transferred for around £6.5 million, which matched the Wolves club record.[20] Fletcher scored on his debut for Wolves, winning 2–1 against Stoke City on the opening day of the season at Molineux.[21] Fletcher soon went on to get dropped from the first 11 as Mick McCarthy decided to go with his previous successful 4–5–1 formation, with Kevin Doyle playing the lone striker role. Fletcher was mainly used as a substitute in the first half of the season, but he still managed to pick up 4 goals. These goals came against Bolton, Wigan and two goals against Tottenham in each fixture. On 26 March 2011, Doyle tore a knee ligament while on international duty with Ireland, which kept him out of action for up to 6 weeks.[22] McCarthy was proved right by choosing Fletcher to play the forward role, as he went on to score five goals in five league games for the club. His first goal came against Fulham at Molineux, earning his side a 1–1 draw[23] and his next came against Birmingham, scoring from the penalty spot to earn his side a 1–1 draw at St Andrews.[24] His next two goals came against West Bromwich Albion at Molineux in the Black Country derby, earning his side a 3–1 win over their local rivals and getting them out of the bottom three.[25] Fletcher grabbed his fifth goal for Wolves against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, again helping his side to a 3–1 win.[26] This saw Fletcher reach 10 league goals by the end of the season, 12 in all competitions.

Fletcher began the 2011–12 Premier League season in similar fashion, scoring a powerful header in the opening day victory against Blackburn. It was the second season running that Fletcher had scored in the opening fixture of the season. Fletcher scored his second of the season against Liverpool, scoring after coming on as a substitute at half time. He then scored both goals in a 2–1 win against Sunderland. Despite Fletcher scoring 12 goals during the league season, Wolves were relegated from the Premier League.[27] Fletcher submitted a transfer request on 8 August 2012, after media reports linked Sunderland with the player.[28]

Sunderland[edit]

On 22 August 2012, Wolves accepted an offer from Sunderland of £12 million.[27] Fletcher signed a four-year contract with Sunderland.[29] He made his first appearance for Sunderland in a 2–0 win against Football League Two club Morecambe in the Football League Cup. Fletcher then scored his first scored two goals in his Premier League debut for Sunderland, a 2–2 draw at Swansea City.[30] He also scored once in each of his next three league matches, against Liverpool, West Ham United and Wigan Athletic.[31][32][33] Fletcher's excellent start to the season saw him win the Barclays Player of the Month award for September.[34] After a spell of 5 games without a goal, Fletcher netted at Craven Cottage against Fulham in a 3–1 Sunderland victory.[35] He then went on to score in a 3–0 home win against Reading,[36] and scored the only goal in a 1–0 win away against Southampton.[37] Fletcher then scored twice in a 3–2 win at Wigan.[38] After a run of games without a win, an injury sustained playing for Scotland in March 2013 ruled Fletcher out for the rest of the 2012–13 season.[39][40]

Fletcher was handed the number 9 shirt for the 2013-14 season, and returned to the bench for Sunderland's 4-2 Capital One Cup win over Milton Keynes Dons. Upon his premier league return after a sustained period of time out injured, he came off the bench to score in the 3-1 defeat against Crystal Palace on 31 August. On 27 September, Fletcher was ruled out for "four to six" weeks, with a shoulder injury; the result of a heavy fall during the previous weeks match against West Brom.[41] Fletcher scored his second goal of the season against local rivals Newcastle United on 27 October 2013, netting the first in a 2-1 win to record Sunderland's first win of the season.

International career[edit]

Despite his English birthplace, Fletcher chose to represent Scotland, his mother's home country and where he had lived since his father's death. Fletcher was the top scorer in the Scotland under–19 team which reached the final of the 2006 European Championship, losing to Spain. Following the achievements of the under–19 side, Fletcher was named by The Scotsman newspaper as one of the "ten to watch" in Scottish sport during 2007.[42] Fletcher made his debut for Scotland under–21s in the 2004–05 season.

Fletcher was named in the Scotland squad for the first time in March 2008, for a friendly match against Croatia. Fletcher started the game and provided the assist for Kenny Miller to score the equalising goal in a 1–1 draw.[43] He was substituted at half-time due to injury.[43] He was dropped back to the under–21 team in September 2008, but was immediately recalled to the full squad after scoring twice against Slovenia under–21s.[44] Fletcher scored his first full international goal in a 2–1 win against Iceland on 1 April 2009.[45]

After being left out of Euro 2012 qualification matches against Czech Republic and Spain, Fletcher publicly criticised head coach Craig Levein.[46] Fletcher was then left out of the next Scotland squad, although Levein claimed that this was because Fletcher had not been playing regularly for his club side.[46] When Levein attempted to select him for the squad in February 2011, Fletcher sent a text message stating that he did not want to join the squad.[47] The dispute continued through the remainder of 2011, as Levein insisted that Fletcher would have to contact him first if he wanted to return to the squad.[48] His club manager, Mick McCarthy, said in November 2011 that Fletcher wanted to play for Scotland and that the situation should be resolved.[49]

Near the end of the 2011–12 season, Levein advised the Scottish media that he would not pick Fletcher again.[50] Following Fletcher's £12 million move to Sunderland in August 2012, Levein re-iterated that Fletcher would not feature for Scotland again whilst he was manager.[51] Levein also criticised the transfer fee paid by Sunderland as "quite obscene" and claimed that Fletcher had made no effort to rejoin the national squad.[51] The dispute came into further focus after Fletcher performed well for Sunderland and Scotland only scored once in their first two 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification matches.[52] Fletcher stated on his Twitter account that he would be willing to play for Scotland.[52] His agent claimed that Fletcher had made an attempt to reconcile with Levein during in September 2011, but nobody had provided details of how they could meet.[52]

On 2 October 2012, Fletcher was recalled to the Scotland squad for their World Cup qualifiers with Wales and Belgium.[53]

International goals[edit]

Scores and results list Scotland's goal tally first.

Goal Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 1 April 2009 Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland  Iceland 2–1 2–1 2010 World Cup qualification

Career statistics[edit]

As of 19 March 2014[54]
Season Club League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total Discipline
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals A yellow card A red card
Hibernian 2003–04 5 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 0
2004–05 20 5 4 0 2 0 26 5 0 0
2005–06 34 8 4 2 2 0 1 0 40 10 2 0
2006–07 31 6 5 1 5 4 3 1 44 12 5 0
2007–08 32 13 2 0 1 1 35 14 4 0
2008–09 34 11 1 0 1 0 2 0 38 11 4 1
Total 156 43 16 3 11 5 6 1 189 52 15 1
Burnley 2009–10 35 8 1 1 2 3 38 12 1 0
Total 35 8 1 1 2 3 0 0 38 12 1 0
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2010–11 29 10 3 1 2 1 34 12 1 0
2011–12 32 12 2 0 0 0 34 12 2 0
Total 61 22 5 1 2 1 0 0 68 24 3 0
Sunderland 2012–13 28 11 1 0 2 0 30 11 3 0
2013–14 20 3 1 0 2 0 23 3 1 0
Total 48 14 2 0 4 0 0 0 53 14 4 0
Career Total 300 87 24 5 19 9 6 1 349 102 23 1

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Hibernian
Sunderland

Individual[edit]

Hibernian
Sunderland

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Steven Fletcher profile". safc.com. 
  2. ^ Steven Fletcher – U20 Squad, Scottish Football Association
  3. ^ Steven Fletcher – B Squad, Scottish Football Association
  4. ^ Steven Fletcher at scottishfa.co.uk
  5. ^ a b c Coates, Jonathan (25 November 2006). "Easter Road call-up spared Fletcher a soldier's life". The Scotsman (Johnston Press). 
  6. ^ "Dad's Deathbed Wish Make It as Pro. He's Was for Me to My Inspiration; STEVEN FLETCHER EXCLUSIVE". Sunday Mail  – via Highbeam (subscription required). 30 June 2006. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  7. ^ Fletcher is writers' young pick, BBC Sport, 7 May 2008
  8. ^ a b EXCLUSIVE: Mega-rich Man City join the race for Hibs' £4m-rated Fletcher, Mail Online, 28 November 2008
  9. ^ Cameron, Neil (1 January 2009). "Middlesbrough set to swoop for £2.5m Hibs star Steven Fletcher". Daily Record (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  10. ^ Halliday, Stephen (31 January 2009). "Celtic's interest in Fletcher is firmly knocked back by Hibs". The Scotsman (Johnston Press). Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  11. ^ "Fletcher urges Hibs to sell him to Celtic". www.guardian.co.uk. Guardian News and Media. 1 February 2009. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  12. ^ "Hibs rule out Fletcher transfer". BBC Sport. BBC. 2 February 2009. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  13. ^ "Fletcher unhappy at Hibs stance". BBC Sport. BBC. 2 February 2009. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  14. ^ "Burnley bid for Scotland striker Steven Fletcher". Mirror Football (Trinity Mirror). 26 June 2009. Retrieved 26 June 2009. 
  15. ^ "Fletcher looks to be leaving Hibs for Burnley". Edinburgh Evening News. 30 June 2009. Retrieved 30 June 2009. 
  16. ^ "Clarets smash record to land Fletcher". Burnley FC. 30 June 2009. Retrieved 30 June 2009. 
  17. ^ "Wright fears Fletcher isn't ready to star among elite". The Scotsman. 1 July 2009. Retrieved 1 July 2009. 
  18. ^ "Hartlepool 1–2 Burnley". BBC Sport. 25 August 2009. Retrieved 26 August 2009. 
  19. ^ a b "Burnley Player of the Year Awards". Burnley FC. 6 May 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  20. ^ "Burnley striker Steven Fletcher makes Wolves switch". BBC Sport. BBC. 3 June 2010. 
  21. ^ "Wolves 2–1 Stoke". BBC News. 14 August 2010. 
  22. ^ "Wolves top scorer Kevin Doyle could miss rest of season". BBC News (BBC Sport). 28 March 2011. 
  23. ^ "Wolves 1–1 Fulham". BBC News. 23 April 2011. 
  24. ^ "Birmingham 1–1 Wolves". BBC News. 1 May 2011. 
  25. ^ "Wolves 3–1 West Brom". BBC News. 8 May 2011. 
  26. ^ "Sunderland 1–3 Wolves". BBC News. 14 May 2011. 
  27. ^ a b "Steven Fletcher: Wolves accept £12m bid from Sunderland". BBC Sport (BBC). 22 August 2012. Retrieved 22 August 2012. 
  28. ^ "Steven Fletcher: Wolves striker hands in transfer request". BBC Sport (BBC). 8 August 2012. 
  29. ^ "Fletcher signs up". www.safc.com. Sunderland AFC. 24 August 2012. Retrieved 30 September 2012. 
  30. ^ "Fletcher strikes twice as Swans held". ESPN. 1 September 2012. 
  31. ^ "O'Neill – Fletcher great value". Sky Sports. BSkyB. 16 September 2012. 
  32. ^ "West Ham 1–1 Sunderland". BBC Sport. BBC. 22 September 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2012. 
  33. ^ Taylor, Louise (29 September 2012). "Steven Fletcher hits winner for Sunderland against 10-man Wigan". The Observer (Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 30 September 2012. 
  34. ^ "David Moyes named Barclays Manager of the Month". Premier League. 9 October 2012. 
  35. ^ "Fulham 1–3 Sunderland". BBC Sport. 18 November 2012. Retrieved 22 November 2012. 
  36. ^ "Sunderland 3–0 Reading". BBC Sport. BBC. 11 December 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  37. ^ Folley, Malcolm (22 December 2012). "Southampton 0 Sunderland 1: O'Neill is happy as Fletcher seizes a lifeline". Daily Mail (Associated Newspapers). Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  38. ^ "Wigan 2–3 Sunderland". BBC Sport. BBC. 19 January 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  39. ^ Taylor, Louise (27 March 2013). "Sunderland's Steven Fletcher and Lee Cattermole ruled out for season". The Guardian (Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  40. ^ "Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher undergoes ankle surgery". BBC Sport. BBC. 18 April 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2013. 
  41. ^ "Fletcher lay-off confirmed". 27 September 2013. 
  42. ^ Coates, Jonathan (1 January 2007). "Young, gifted and Scots: ten to watch in 2007". The Scotsman (Johnston Press). 
  43. ^ a b Moffat, Colin (26 March 2008). "Scotland 1–1 Croatia". BBC Sport. BBC. 
  44. ^ Moffat, Colin (8 September 2008). "Scotland call up striker Fletcher". BBC Sport. 
  45. ^ Moffat, Colin (1 April 2009). "Scotland 2–1 Iceland". BBC Sport. BBC. 
  46. ^ a b Murray, Ewan (13 November 2010). "Steven Fletcher's gripes test Craig Levein's diplomacy skills again". guardian.co.uk (London). Retrieved 14 November 2010. 
  47. ^ Wilson, Richard (2 February 2011). "Text spells end for Fletcher". The Herald (Herald & Times Group). Retrieved 3 February 2011. 
  48. ^ "Steven Fletcher to make first move towards Scotland return – Levein". BBC Sport. 16 October 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  49. ^ "Wolves manager urges Steven Fletcher to end Scotland exile". BBC Sport. BBC. 11 November 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  50. ^ Forsyth, Roddy. "Steven Fletcher to be frozen out indefinitely by Scotland manager Craig Levein". Sunday Telegraph (Telegraph Media Group). Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  51. ^ a b "Scotland boss Craig Levein maintains Steven Fletcher stance". BBC Sport. BBC. 23 August 2012. Retrieved 30 September 2012. 
  52. ^ a b c Lewis, Jane; McLauchlin, Brian (17 September 2012). "Steven Fletcher: Scottish FA 'wanted meeting' about cap future". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 30 September 2012. 
  53. ^ "Craig Levein has described Steven Fletcher's surprise return to the Scotland fold as a 'no-brainer' following involvement from a third party". Sky Sports. BSkyB. 2 October 2012. Retrieved 2 October 2012. 
  54. ^ Steven Fletcher (footballer) career stats at Soccerbase

External links[edit]