Steven Fletcher (footballer)
Fletcher playing for Sunderland in 2015
|Full name||Steven Kenneth Fletcher|
|Date of birth||26 March 1987|
|Place of birth||Shrewsbury, England|
|Height||1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|2016||→ Marseille (loan)||12||(1)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 18:00, 28 September 2016 (UTC).
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 Wolverhampton Wanderers, 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. He joined Sheffield Wednesday on 1 July 2016.
Fletcher played for the Scotland under-19 team that finished runners up to Spain in the 2006 European Championship. He has since represented Scotland at full international level, and in 2015 became the first player since 1969 to score a hat-trick for Scotland.
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. 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. Hibernian youth coach John Park, also from Hamilton, spotted his footballing talent and the youngster joined the Leith club's youth network aged 13.
Fletcher made his debut for Hibs on 10 April 2004, replacing Garry O'Connor for the final eight minutes in a 3–0 Scottish Premier League win over Kilmarnock at Easter Road. He totalled five appearances that season, making his first start on 15 May in the final fixture, a 4–1 loss at Livingston.
He became a first team regular in the 2004–05 season, playing 26 times and scoring five goals. His first goal came on 16 October, set up by O'Connor to conclude a 2–0 home win over Dundee United. On 19 March, as a 61st-minute substitute for Scott Brown, he scored twice in a 4–1 win at Dunfermline Athletic, also assisting one of Derek Riordan's brace.
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 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. 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. The Daily Mail reported in November 2008 that Manchester City and two other Premier League teams were interested in signing Fletcher and the Daily Record reported on 1 January 2009 that Middlesbrough were "preparing" a £2.5 million offer. Towards the end of the January transfer window, Hibs rejected an approach from Celtic. 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", but Hibs refused to sell him. Fletcher finished the season by being voted the Scottish Football Writers Young Player of the Season again.
On 26 June 2009, Burnley offered £2.75 million for Fletcher. A few days later, Hibs accepted an offer of £3 million plus incentives based on appearances for Burnley. 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. After the move was completed, former Hibs striker Keith Wright questioned whether Fletcher was ready to play in the Premier League. His first competitive goals for Burnley came when he scored a brace in a 2–1 League Cup win at Hartlepool United on 25 August. 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, but the club were relegated from the Premier League. He was named Burnley Players' Player of the year for the season.
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. Fletcher scored on his debut for Wolves, winning 2–1 against Stoke City on the opening day of the season at Molineux. 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 four 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. 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 and his next came against Birmingham, scoring from the penalty spot to earn his side a 1–1 draw at St Andrews. 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. Fletcher grabbed his fifth goal for Wolves against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, again helping his side to a 3–1 win. 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. Fletcher submitted a transfer request on 8 August 2012, after media reports linked Sunderland with the player.
On 22 August 2012, Wolves accepted an offer from Sunderland of £12 million. Fletcher signed a four-year contract with Sunderland. 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. He also scored once in each of his next three league matches, against Liverpool, West Ham United and Wigan Athletic. Fletcher's excellent start to the season saw him win the Barclays Player of the Month award for September. After a spell of 5 games without a goal, Fletcher netted at Craven Cottage against Fulham in a 3–1 Sunderland victory. He then went on to score in a 3–0 home win against Reading, and scored the only goal in a 1–0 win away against Southampton. Fletcher then scored twice in a 3–2 win at Wigan. 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.
Fletcher was handed the number 9 shirt for the 2013–14 season, and returned to the bench for a 4–2 League Cup win against 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 week's match against West Brom. Fletcher scored his second goal of the season on 27 October 2013, netting the first in a 2–1 win against local rivals Newcastle United. It was also Sunderland's first win of the season. On 28 December 2013 Fletcher scored his third goal of the season, in a 2–2 draw against Cardiff City. He did not score again in the 2013–14 season, during which Sunderland reached the League Cup final and produced a late run of form to avoid relegation.
On 4 October 2014, Fletcher netted twice and assisted Connor Wickham in a 3–1 win against Stoke City. Fletcher was at the double again almost a month later, when he netted twice against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. His fifth goal of the season came on the last day of the season, on 24 May 2015, where he scored a header to open the scoring in a 1–3 defeat away to Chelsea.
On 8 August 2015, Fletcher scored a consolation goal for Sunderland on the opening day of the in their 4–2 defeat away to Leicester City at the King Power Stadium. On 3 October 2015, Fletcher scored the opening goal in Sunderland's 2–2 draw against West Ham United. On 25 October 2015, Fletcher scored the third and final goal of the match in the Tyne–Wear derby against arch-rivals Newcastle in a 3–0 win.
On 1 February 2016, Fletcher joined Ligue 1 side Marseille on loan until the end of the season. He made his debut for the club six days later, coming on as a second-half substitute for Michy Batshuayi in a 2–1 loss to rivals Paris Saint-Germain in Le Classique at the Stade Vélodrome. On 11 February, Fletcher made his full debut in a 2–0 Coupe de France win at fourth-tier amateur side Trélissac, setting up Romain Alessandrini for the first goal before netting himself in the 87th minute.
Following his release from Sunderland, Fletcher joined Sheffield Wednesday on a free transfer on 1 July 2016.
Fletcher was eligible to represent either England, his birthplace and the nation of his father, or Scotland, his mother's home country and his place of residence since the age of 10. He chose Scotland. 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. 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. He was substituted at half-time due to injury. 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. Fletcher scored his first full international goal in a 2–1 win against Iceland on 1 April 2009.
After being left out of Euro 2012 qualification matches against Czech Republic and Spain, Fletcher publicly criticised head coach Craig Levein. 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. 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. 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. His club manager, Mick McCarthy, said in November 2011 that Fletcher wanted to play for Scotland and that the situation should be resolved.
Near the end of the 2011–12 season, Levein advised the Scottish media that he would not pick Fletcher again. 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. 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. 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. Fletcher stated on his Twitter account that he would be willing to play for Scotland. 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. On 2 October 2012, Fletcher was recalled to the Scotland squad for their World Cup qualifiers with Wales and Belgium.
Fletcher scored a hat-trick for Scotland in a 6–1 European qualifier victory over Gibraltar at Hampden Park on 29 March 2015, becoming the first player to score three in a match for the country since Colin Stein scored four against Cyprus in 1969. On 11 October, away to the same opposition with both teams already eliminated, he scored another treble in a 6–0 victory. He became the fifth player to score more than one hat-trick for Scotland, with the others being RS McColl (3), Robert Hamilton (2), Hughie Gallacher (3) and Denis Law (3).
- As of 20 August 2016
|Season||Club||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total||Discipline|
- Scores and results list Scotland's goal tally first.
|1||1 April 2009||Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland||Iceland||2–1||2–1||2010 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|2||29 March 2015||Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland||Gibraltar||2–1||6–1||UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying|
|5||8 October 2015||Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland||Poland||2–1||2–2||UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying|
|6||11 October 2015||Estádio Algarve, Faro, Portugal||Gibraltar||3–0||6–0||UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying|
|9||4 September 2016||National Stadium, Ta' Qali, Malta||Malta||4–1||5–1||2018 FIFA World Cup qualification|
- SFWA Young Player of the Year (2): 2007–08, 2008–09
- SPL Young Player of the Month (5): October 2004, August 2007, February 2008, October 2008, March 2009
- Premier League Player of the Month (1): September 2012
- "Steven Fletcher profile". safc.com.
- Steven Fletcher – U20 Squad, Scottish Football Association
- Steven Fletcher – B Squad, Scottish Football Association
- Steven Fletcher at scottishfa.co.uk
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- Daily Mail
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- "Welcome Steven Fletcher !". www.om.net (in French). Olympique de Marseille. 1 February 2016. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
- Rodden, Mark. "Steven Fletcher hopeful of long-term Ligue 1 stay with Marseille". ESPN. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
- "Trelissac 0-2 Marseille: Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher scores on his full debut as Ligue 1 side avoid cup upset on their travels". Daily Mail. 11 February 2016. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
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- Moffat, Colin (26 March 2008). "Scotland 1–1 Croatia". BBC Sport. BBC.
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- Moffat, Colin (1 April 2009). "Scotland 2–1 Iceland". BBC Sport. BBC.
- Murray, Ewan (13 November 2010). "Steven Fletcher's gripes test Craig Levein's diplomacy skills again". guardian.co.uk. London. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
- Wilson, Richard (2 February 2011). "Text spells end for Fletcher". The Herald. Herald & Times Group. Retrieved 3 February 2011.
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- Forsyth, Roddy. "Steven Fletcher to be frozen out indefinitely by Scotland manager Craig Levein". Sunday Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
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- Lewis, Jane; McLauchlin, Brian (17 September 2012). "Steven Fletcher: Scottish FA 'wanted meeting' about cap future". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
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- Lamont, Alasdair (29 March 2015). "Scotland 6-1 Gibraltar". BBC Sport. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
- Lamont, Alasdair (11 October 2015). "Gibraltar 0-6 Scotland". BBC Sport. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
- Steven Fletcher career statistics at Soccerbase
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