The news that Scotland captain, Darren Fletcher, is to train with his national team-mates next week will be warmly received by Craig Levein’s squad, as they prepare for another World Cup qualifying campaign.
Fletcher will not play any part in Scotland’s friendly with Australia at Easter Road later this month, but his mere presence at the training ground will do wonders for the team.
The Manchester United star has not played competitive football for 10 months, after being diagnosed with a chronic bowel problem. He was greatly missed in the heart of United’s midfield, his absence prompting Paul Scholes out of retirement to fill the gap.
Although still a long way off full fitness, the Scot is back on the training ground and preparing for a comeback this autumn.
In continuing his captain duties for Scotland, the 28-year-old has demonstrated his desire to aid his country to World Cup qualification, and act as adviser for new players in the squad.
For Fletcher has no obligation to join the Scotland squad for a meaningless friendly. He is still unwell and he could have opted to stay at Carrington and continue his rehabilitation closer to home.
It is commendable that he has such a strong passion for his national side that, even though unable to play a part on the pitch, he is willing to take time out to join the squad and aid its development.
Watch out for Fletcher’s return, and see how Scotland reacts during their October qualifiers against Wales and Belgium.
The Scots have a solid base, with Levein as manager, and a long-term leader in Fletcher. We can only hope his fitness can regain its former high standard, and maybe the Scots can once more embark on a World Cup tour.