John Fleck (footballer)

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John Fleck
John Fleck 2019 (cropped).jpg
Fleck lining up for Scotland in 2019
Personal information
Full name John Alan Fleck[1]
Date of birth (1991-08-24) 24 August 1991 (age 28)[2]
Place of birth Glasgow, Scotland
Height 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)[2]
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Sheffield United
Number 4
Youth career
2005–2007 Rangers
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2007–2012 Rangers 41 (2)
2012Blackpool (loan) 7 (0)
2012–2016 Coventry City 162 (8)
2016– Sheffield United 135 (8)
National team
2007–2008 Scotland U17 9 (3)
2008–2010 Scotland U19 4 (0)
2009–2012 Scotland U21 4 (0)
2019– Scotland 1 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 16:56, 5 October 2019 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 12 October 2019

John Alan Fleck (born 24 August 1991) is a Scottish professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Premier League club Sheffield United.

He began his career with Rangers, making his senior debut in 2008 aged 16, being hyped in the media as a future star,[3][4][5][6] and later spending a period on loan to Blackpool. In 2012 he transferred to Coventry City, remaining there until 2016 when he joined Sheffield United, helping the Blades achieve two promotions in three years, moving up from EFL League One to the Premier League.

Early life[edit]

Fleck was born in Glasgow and was brought up in the city's Yoker district;[3] he was educated at Knightswood Secondary School.[7] His uncle, former Scotland international Robert Fleck, played for Rangers, Chelsea and Norwich in the 1980s and 1990s.[8]

Club career[edit]

Rangers[edit]

Fleck began his career in the Rangers youth teams;[3] he played in their 5–0 Scottish Youth Cup victory over Celtic on 26 April 2007.[9] On 12 July 2007, Fleck was called up to take part in the full squad pre-season tour of Germany,[10] and was handed his debut for the first team against SV Lippstadt 08 on 15 July 2007, becoming the first 15-year-old to play for the first team since Derek Ferguson[11] in 1982. Fleck impressed and scored in a 3–1 friendly victory over Sportfreunde Lotte in the next friendly game.

On 25 August 2007, just a day after his 16th birthday, Fleck was included for the first time in the Rangers first team squad for a competitive match against Kilmarnock. He made his competitive debut on 23 January 2008 in the Scottish Cup game against East Stirlingshire[12] and made his league debut on 22 May in the final league game of the season against Aberdeen. Two days later, Fleck became the youngest ever player to play in a senior British cup final,[13] by appearing as a substitute in the 2008 Scottish Cup Final against Queen of the South.[14] He gained his first start for Rangers against Falkirk on 17 January 2009, earning the man of the match award for his performance.[15] Five days before this, The Times had placed Fleck seventh in their Top 50 Rising Stars of football list.[4]

Fleck with Rangers in 2007

Fleck scored his first competitive goal in a 2–0 league victory over Dundee United at Ibrox on 31 January 2009.[16] The goal was a 78th-minute penalty, awarded after Mihael Kovačević's challenge had brought Fleck to the ground. Fleck's talent, precocious performances, technique, vision and work-rate led him to be heralded as "Scotland's Wayne Rooney".[5]

It was reported in August 2009 that Fleck had been dropped from the Rangers first-team after a training ground "bust-up" with the assistant manager, Ally McCoist.[17] On 26 March 2010, Fleck signed a new three-year contract.[18] That summer, he had a strong pre-season but then suffered a hamstring injury early in the campaign which hampered his progress.[19]

With first team chances in short supply at Rangers, Fleck agreed to move to Sheffield United on a season-long loan at the end of the 2011 summer transfer window[20] but the deal subsequently fell through as the paperwork was not completed before the deadline.[21] In January 2012, having appeared to have seized a fresh chance in the team at Rangers a few weeks earlier,[6] Fleck signed for Championship club Blackpool on loan, despite renewed interest from Sheffield United.[22][23]

In June 2012, Fleck lodged an objection against his contract being transferred to the newco set up by Charles Green.[24][3] PFA Scotland had previously commented that players were entitled to become free agents if they objected to the transfer.[25]

Coventry City[edit]

On 4 July 2012, Fleck joined Football League One side Coventry City after he rejected his Rangers contract being transferred to the new company.[26] Rangers were reported to have a sell-on agreement, meaning they would be entitled to a percentage of any transfer fee Coventry subsequently received for the player.[27] Fleck scored his first Coventry City goal in a 4–1 loss away to Shrewsbury Town from the penalty spot on 18 September 2012.[28] He struggled to nail down a starting spot in the side during his first season at the club, particularly during the reign of Mark Robins, although he went on to make 35 appearances and scored three times.[29]

The arrival of Steven Pressley as Coventry City manager in March 2013 saw Fleck regain a starting spot in the Coventry City line-up, starting every game of the remaining 2012–13 season in a deep-lying central midfield role. Fleck remained first-choice for the following season which Coventry City played at Northampton Town's Sixfields Stadium[30] and played a key role in the side as they overcame a 10-point deduction to mount an unlikely play-off push for the first half of the season.[31]

Fleck struggled for form as the team's form collapsed in the remaining months of the 2013–14 season but started the following campaign well, putting in a strong performance as the team beat Gillingham 1–0 to mark the club's return to Coventry in September 2014.[32] Although his form was up-and-down throughout much of a campaign where the Sky Blues struggled for consistency, Fleck signed an 18-month contract extension in January 2015 to keep him at the club until the summer of 2016.[33] Between the start of the 2012–13 season and the end of the 2013–14 season, he scored just one goal for Coventry.

Fleck saw another upturn in form at Coventry City in the 2015–16 season where under the management of Tony Mowbray he was encouraged to play a more forward-thinking role in the side, aided by the defensive support of midfield partner Romain Vincelot. Fleck's importance to the team was described by Mowbray as being 'the oil in our machine' as the Sky Blues rose to the top of the League One table.[34] Fleck was rewarded for his improvement in 2015–16 by being awarded the club's player of the year award by both the fans and his teammates at the club's end of season awards.[35]

Sheffield United[edit]

Fleck signed a three-year contract with Sheffield United in July 2016.[36] He scored his first goal for the club in a 4–1 win over Chesterfield on 13 November 2016.[37] On 8 April 2017, Fleck scored a late winner against Northampton Town at Sixfields Stadium – the fans reacted by running onto the pitch to celebrate promotion. On 15 April 2017, United were crowned EFL League One champions and promoted to the EFL Championship. On 22 September 2017, Fleck signed a new four-year contract with the Blades to keep him at Bramall Lane until summer 2022.[38]

Fleck has won the Player of the Year award twice whilst at Sheffield United, once in the 2016–17 season (tied with teammate Billy Sharp) and again the next year.[39]

On 28 April 2019, Fleck saw his second promotion in three seasons with United, this time to the Premier League, the club returning after a 12-year absence.[40]

International career[edit]

After playing for Scotland at under-21 level, Fleck was called up to the Scottish senior team for the first time in November 2018.[41] He did not play in that match, and had to decline an invitation to join the squad in May 2019 as it clashed with his wedding in Ayrshire, arranged two years earlier when he seemed far less likely to be involved with the national team.[42]

On 10 October 2019, Fleck gained his first senior Scotland cap in a 4–0 defeat to Russia in Moscow.[43]

Career statistics[edit]

As of 28 September 2019 (UTC)[44]
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League National Cup League Cup Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Rangers 2007–08[45] Scottish Premier League 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
2008–09[46] Scottish Premier League 8 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 10 1
2009–10[47] Scottish Premier League 15 1 3 0 2 1 3[a] 0 23 2
2010–11[48] Scottish Premier League 13 0 1 0 1 0 2[a][b] 0 17 0
2011–12[49] Scottish Premier League 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 5 0
Total 41 2 8 0 4 1 5 0 58 3
Blackpool (loan) 2011–12[49] Championship 7 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 8 0
Coventry City 2012–13[50] League One 35 3 2 0 1 0 4[c] 0 42 3
2013–14[51] League One 43 1 4 0 1 0 1[c] 0 49 1
2014–15[52] League One 44 0 0 0 1 0 3[c] 0 48 0
2015–16[53] League One 40 4 1 0 1 0 1[c] 0 43 4
Total 162 8 7 0 4 0 9 0 182 8
Sheffield United 2016–17[54] League One 44 4 2 0 1 0 2[c] 0 49 4
2017–18[55] Championship 40 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 43 2
2018–19[56] Championship 45 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 46 2
2019–20[57] Premier League 6 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 7 0
Total 135 8 4 0 4 0 2 0 145 8
Career total 345 18 20 0 12 1 16 0 393 19
  1. ^ a b Appearances in UEFA Champions League
  2. ^ Appearances in UEFA Europa League
  3. ^ a b c d e Appearances in Football League Trophy

Honours[edit]

Rangers

Sheffield United

Individual

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Club list of registered players: As at 20th May 2017" (PDF). English Football League. p. 63. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  2. ^ a b "John Fleck: Overview". Premier League. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e John Fleck: Gers fans called me a money-grabber but I took pay cut when I left, Scottish Sun, 26 October 2016
  4. ^ a b Dart, Tom (12 January 2009). "Footballs Top 50 Rising Stars". London: Times Online. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
  5. ^ a b Roddy Forsyth (1 February 2009). "Rangers teenager John Fleck hailed as Scotland's Wayne Rooney". The Telegraph. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  6. ^ a b Interview: John Fleck, Rangers forward, The Scotsman, 8 January 2012
  7. ^ "Victory Shield Squad for Wales" (Press release). Scottish FA. 17 October 2005. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
  8. ^ "Smith relishes Rangers' 'biggest test'". FIFA.com. 13 February 2009. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  9. ^ "Rangers U19 5–0 Celtic U19". The Herald. 26 April 2007. Archived from the original on 1 May 2007.
  10. ^ "Trio Miss Germany Trip". Rangers F.C. 12 July 2007.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "Debut Double For McCulloch". Rangers F.C. 16 July 2007.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "Rangers 6–0 East Stirlingshire". BBC Sport. 23 January 2008.
  13. ^ Grahame, Ewing (15 January 2010). "Rangers blow as John Fleck and Danny Wilson seek way out". The Telegraph. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  14. ^ a b "Queen of the South 2–3 Rangers". BBC Sport. 24 May 2008.
  15. ^ "John Fleck has the talent to be a Rangers great, says Steven Davis". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. 18 January 2009. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  16. ^ "Rangers 2–0 Dundee United". BBC Sport. 31 January 2009.
  17. ^ "Rangers drop Fleck after bust-up". BBC Sport. 2 August 2009.
  18. ^ "Fleck signs new three-year deal". BBC Sport. 26 March 2010.
  19. ^ https://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/13222969.forgotten-boy-in-blue-john-fleck-set-to-be-man-for-all-seasons/ Forgotten boy in blue John Fleck set to be man for all seasons], Evening Times, 7 July 2011
  20. ^ "Blades capture Rangers duo". skysports.com. 1 September 2011.
  21. ^ "Sheffield Utd drop bid for Kyle Hutton and John Fleck". BBC Sport. 7 September 2011. Retrieved 7 September 2011.
  22. ^ "Rangers midfielder John Fleck completes Blackpool loan switch". sport.scotsman.com. Johnston Press. 19 January 2012. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
  23. ^ "Sheffield United back in for Rangers midfielder John Fleck". BBC Sport. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 31 December 2011.
  24. ^ "Rangers: John Fleck eyes exit as Kyle Hutton stays with newco". BBC Sport. 28 June 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
  25. ^ "Rangers: Players free not to join 'newco' says law expert". BBC Sport. 14 June 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
  26. ^ "City complete Fleck capture". CCFC. 4 July 2012. Archived from the original on 6 July 2012.
  27. ^ "John Fleck joins Coventry after leaving Rangers". BBC Sport. 4 July 2012.
  28. ^ "Shrewsbury 4–1 Coventry". CCFC. 18 September 2012. Archived from the original on 5 September 2013.
  29. ^ "Games played by John Fleck in 2012/2013". Soccerbase. Centurycomm.
  30. ^ "Coventry City to play home matches at Northampton's Sixfields Stadium". Sky Sports. 8 July 2013.
  31. ^ "John Fleck starting to hit the heights at Coventry after escaping weight of expectation at Rangers". The Daily Record. 9 January 2014.
  32. ^ "Coventry City 1–0 Gillingham". BBC Sport. 5 September 2014.
  33. ^ "John Fleck: Coventry City midfielder signs new contract". BBC Sport. 7 January 2015.
  34. ^ "'John Fleck is the oil in our machine' – Coventry City boss knows how vital midfielder is". Coventry Telegraph. 20 October 2015.
  35. ^ a b "'NEWS: John Fleck wins both CCFC's Players' Player and Player of the Season awards for the 2015/16 season'". Coventry City FC. 4 May 2016.
  36. ^ "Sheffield United sign Jack O'Connell and John Fleck". BBC Sport. 8 July 2016. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  37. ^ "Chesterfield 1-4 Sheffield United". BBC Sport. 13 November 2016. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  38. ^ "John Fleck: Sheffield United midfielder signs new four-year contract". BBC Sport. 22 September 2017. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  39. ^ a b "Fleck scoops double". Sheffield United FC. 30 April 2018.
  40. ^ "Sheffield United promoted to Premier League after Leeds draw". BBC Sport. 28 April 2019. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  41. ^ Alex McLeish: Scotland boss says nine player withdrawals 'nothing sinister', BBC Sport, 16 November 2018
  42. ^ I couldn't postpone the wedding, Lauren would have killed me - John Fleck on missing out on Scotland debut, Yorkshire Post, 30 May 2019
  43. ^ Forsyth, Roddy (10 October 2019). "Sorry Scotland thrashed by Russia to leave Nations League as their only Euro 2020 hope". The Telegraph. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  44. ^ John Fleck at Soccerway. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  45. ^ "Games played by John Fleck in 2007/2008". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  46. ^ "Games played by John Fleck in 2008/2009". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  47. ^ "Games played by John Fleck in 2009/2010". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  48. ^ "Games played by John Fleck in 2010/2011". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  49. ^ a b "Games played by John Fleck in 2011/2012". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  50. ^ "Games played by John Fleck in 2012/2013". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  51. ^ "Games played by John Fleck in 2013/2014". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  52. ^ "Games played by John Fleck in 2014/2015". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  53. ^ "Games played by John Fleck in 2015/2016". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  54. ^ "Games played by John Fleck in 2016/2017". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  55. ^ "Games played by John Fleck in 2017/2018". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  56. ^ "Games played by John Fleck in 2018/2019". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  57. ^ "Games played by John Fleck in 2018/2019". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  58. ^ Anderson, John, ed. (2017). Sky Sports Football Yearbook 2017–2018. London: Headline Publishing Group. pp. 326–327. ISBN 978-1-4722-3397-4.
  59. ^ Anderson, John, ed. (2019). Football Yearbook 2019–2020. London: Headline Publishing Group. pp. 320–231. ISBN 978-1-4722-6111-3.
  60. ^ "PFA teams of the year: Chelsea and Tottenham dominate Premier League XI". BBC Sport. 20 April 2017. Retrieved 7 May 2018.

External links[edit]