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Fletcher Should Get Angry More Often

Steven Fletcher came back into the side last weekend with a point to prove and did so emphatically. But, just imagine what he could achieve if he retains that intensity for the rest of the season...

Alex Livesey

Steven Fletcher showed his true value on Saturday to notch his first goals following a nine-month drought which has been plagued by loss of form, injury niggles and presumably an unhealthy dose of self-doubt at certain stages.

Fletcher began the campaign as the team's lone striker after looking fit and sharp throughout pre-season, but despite some battling performances, never looked likely to score in the opening three Premier League games and was subsequently dropped by boss Gus Poyet in an effort to freshen things up and to hand the Scot a timely reminder that he needed to do more if he wished to cement a regular place in the side.

It was a bold move on the part of Poyet to jettison Fletcher from the 18-man match-day squad altogether for the visit of Spurs and one that undoubtedly irked the striker. Though his goalscoring exploits had been less than impressive for several months, he'll feel that he did all he could in those three starts at the beginning of the campaign given the chances created in those fixtures were at a premium.

The action taken by the head coach resulted in some ridiculous speculation flying around about whether the target-man would return to old club Wolverhampton Wanderers on loan in order to get some games but that talk was frivolous to say the least. There was absolutely no way he was going to be allowed to move on to a Championship club with good striking options severely limited for Gus and his backroom staff, plus with the memory of how very good Fletcher can be still relatively fresh in the mind from his first six months at the club.

Poyet was seeking a reaction and he got it, which suggests that he knows his players better than ever now after a year at the helm. It also allowed fans to see just how desperately Fletcher wants to be a part of the future here on Wearside with the kind of response he offered.

Now, I'm a fan of the big Scot, so I don't want him gesticulating and cupping his ears in the street at me for this(!), but there's no getting away from the fact that we'd not witnessed the real Steven Fletcher for quite some time prior to Saturday afternoon.

His furious goal celebrations in front of the assembled crowd at the Stadium of Light probably had more to do with his own pent-up frustrations rather than aimed directly at supporters, the majority of whom have been fairly patient with him during a long dry spell in front of goal. Maybe he simply wanted to feel a little more appreciated by his manager and the fans, but the only way to do that for a striker who is paid to get goals is to score them, ultimately.

Against the Potters, he appeared reborn and if that's what anger does to him, then perhaps he should play angry more often! Powerful, strong in the air and a menace in the penalty area, Fletcher proved to be unstoppable and the sight of the Scotland international in full flight like that literally terrifies opposing defenders.

Let's hope he can retain that fire in the belly to keep getting his name on the scoresheet and therefore claiming many more vital goals before the season is out. He should be aiming for 15 goals per season at least, and with that same level of furious energy he displayed on Saturday, he's certainly capable of achieving that.


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