07 Oct Fletch hails Macca
Darren Fletcher is set to win his 75th Scotland cap but he still tapped into the experience of boyhood idol Gary McAllister in the build-up to Saturday’s clash with Lithuania.
McAllister joined former Leeds, Coventry and Scotland team-mate Gordon Strachan’s squad this week for several days on the training ground at Mar Hall.
And Fletcher was delighted to get the chance to listen to one of his predecessors as Scotland captain.
“Gary McAllister was my favourite player growing up and we had the pleasure of him being with the squad,” Fletcher told www.scottishfa.co.uk.
“It’s always nice to listen to his stories and tap into his information. He’s got great football knowledge and he was up here to help us.
“We know how close he is with the manager and whenever we have any ex-players and good players like that who want to be part of the Scotland squad it’s great, you see all the players really take notice because they grew up watching players like them.”
Just as Fletcher looks up to McAllister, a number of young players in the Scotland squad will undoubtedly be keen to learn from the West Brom midfielder.
The likes of Callum Paterson, Kieran Tierney and Oliver Burke are pushing to make their competitive Hampden debuts in Saturday’s World Cup qualifier.
Fletcher knows exactly what it is like to make an impact on such an occasion – he scored the winner against Saturday’s opponents in 2003 in his first Hampden appearance to set up a European Championship play-off against Holland.
And he will aim to ensure the Scotland newcomers enjoy the atmosphere and encounter.
“It’s about giving them a platform to perform and giving them small bits of advice when I can,” the 32-year-old said.
“But the biggest thing is just trying to let them be themselves and play without fear and no pressure.
“Let them be the young players in the squad and let the older players take the pressure and the other stuff that goes on, let them express themselves, be creative and make a mark for themselves.”