From the publishers of THE HINDU

VOL.35 :: NO.05 :: Feb. 02, 2012

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FOOTBALL / STARWATCH

McCarthy lauds Fletcher

Steven Fletcher has already scored at Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool this season and his form has not surprisingly seen him linked with a move away from the West Midlands club. But his boss has other plans for him.

AP

Wolves' Steven Fletcher has been prolific this season.

If Wolves are to avoid relegation from the English Premier League, much will depend on the form of Steven Fletcher and the striker is not letting them down at the moment.

The Scottish frontman scored his ninth EPL goal of the season as Wolves secured a surprising 1-1 draw at title contenders Tottenham. Fletcher, who arrived at Molineux in the summer of 2010 for a joint club-record fee thought to be around the GBP7 million mark, has become Wolves' talisman but it is not just his goals that have impressed boss Mick McCarthy.

The Wolves boss said: “Fletch is proving himself to be one of the best in the league at the moment and I'm delighted with him. He is one of those rare commodities who is not only a talented footballer, he also scores goals, runs about and makes it hard for defenders by closing people down and blocking things. And he'll go back and defend the near post. There are not too many of them around I can tell you!

“You can get people who score goals and don't do all the other bits and then those who can do the other bits but can't score. He is one of those who I think has got it all.”

Fletcher has already scored at Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool this season and his form has not surprisingly seem him linked with a move away from the West Midlands club.

The 24-year-old first caught the eye during his time at Hibernian, when his prolific form even captured the attention of Spanish giants Real Madrid. Although a dream move to the Bernabeu never materialised, Fletcher became Burnley's record signing in the summer of 2009 and he went on to be leading scorer in the Clarets' first season in the EPL.

Despite scoring 12 goals in his debut season in the English top flight, Burnley were relegated and Fletcher was on the move once again when Wolves came knocking.

Fletcher, who was born in England but moved to Scotland as a schoolboy, scored on his debut in a victory against Stoke but endured the frustration of being a substitute for much of the first half of his first season at the club.

But the clinical striker got his chance when Kevin Doyle picked up an injury and he took it with both hands, scoring some vital goals as Wolves avoided relegation.

Fletcher scored 12 goals for Wolves in his first season at the club and he has carried on where he left off in the current campaign. When the transfer window opened at the turn of the year it was no surprise to see Fletcher linked with a move away from Molineux, but McCarthy insists he is going nowhere.

The former Republic of Ireland boss said: “There is not a chance of Fletch leaving. If people call, I'd tell them no. He's too valuable for us.”

There is sure to be twists and turns between now and the end of the season as Wolves battle to avoid the drop, but if Fletcher stays fit they will have every chance of retaining their top-flight status.

Rival clubs may then chance their arm at luring Fletcher away from Molineux, but it would take a hefty bid to tempt Wolves to part with their prized asset.

© PA Sport, 2012, All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, re-written, re-distributed or commercially exploited. Sportstar is not responsible for any inaccuracy in the material.



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