Darren Fletcher backs Scotland to make the knockout stages at Euro 2024

Darren Fletcher believes Scotland can make history at Euro 2024 by reaching the knockout stages for the first time.
Darren Fletcher made 80 appearances for the national teamDarren Fletcher made 80 appearances for the national team
Darren Fletcher made 80 appearances for the national team

Scotland’s place in Germany was confirmed as Spain beat Norway 1-0 in Oslo last night, and 80 cap Fletcher, who captained his country, is confident Scotland have enough quality to make it out whatever group they are in.

“I genuinely think the goal should be to qualify from our group,” said Fletcher. “Not putting any pressure on them, but I think this team are capable of getting out of a group and going to create history, that’s what these lads should go and do.

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“There would be no one happier than me, no Scotland team has ever got out the group stage of a major tournament and that should be their ambition. I’m sure they will downplay it and say it’s great to be there, but when they are there, they should definitely be ambitious.”

Fletcher didn’t make it to a major tournament in his 14 year service with the national team. Manager Steve Clarke will lead Scotland to back to back European Championship’s, and 39-year-old Fletcher has admired his work.

“Since he came into the job he’s done a fantastic job. From day one, I’ve liked what he’s tried to do, I’ve liked the way he’s gone about it; he’s an experienced manager who has worked with top coaches. He did a fantastic job at Kilmarnock and he’s carried that over, he’s created a real club atmosphere.

“You look at the squad and we’ve got some great players. I think everything has just fallen into place really in terms of a manager who understands what the squad needs in terms of the personnel, with an abundance of left backs he’s found a system that works. He’s got players playing at the highest level all around the pitch with genuine competition for places. It’s an exciting time for Scotland and you can feel it in the country, the fans are getting behind the team and long may it continue.

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“We’ve got good wing backs, we’ve got good full backs, and we’ve found a goalkeeper again after having three brilliant goalkeepers of the same age. You get a little bit worried when they all get a little bit older, and then Angus [Gunn] comes along and he’s been fantastic.”

Manchester United’s Scott McTominay has been key to qualification with six goals in six qualifying games. Fletcher, in his role as Technical Director at Old Trafford, witnesses McTominay’s quality at Carrington on a daily basis.

He continued: “Scott is different class and his performances have always been for Scotland. As of recently he’s added goals, he’s a great finisher, he knows where the back of the net is, he strikes the ball really well and he can arrive in the box.

“When Scott plays as a number eight and he can go box to box and arrive late, he’s a real threat. He’s got great size, a great profile and sometimes goalscoring comes with a little bit of age and experience as well. He’s such a team player that he’d be willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good of the team – now he’s realising he can add in other ways and score goals, I’m delighted for him.”