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European Qualifiers Group D

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European Qualifiers Group D

Fletcher hails Strachan spirit

Darren Fletcher paid testament to the infectious culture set by Gordon Strachan following his Scotland return.

Last Updated: 07/03/14 at 10:28 Post Comment

Darren Fletcher: Delighted to be back in Scotland colours

Darren Fletcher: Delighted to be back in Scotland colours

The Manchester United midfielder had been out of international action for 17 months as he battled to overcome ulcerative colitis, eventually having surgery to cure his problems.

Fletcher made his return as a second-half substitute during Scotland's 1-0 victory over Poland on Wednesday.

However, when Fletcher last donned the Scotland shirt, Craig Levein was in charge of the national side and the midfielder was delighted to sample Strachan's systems.

"I thoroughly enjoyed working with the new manager and learning new things," he told the Daily Record.

"It was my first experience of the boss and things couldn't have been better.

"It's always different with a new manager but he has interesting theories on how he wants the game played."

Strachan, a former Manchester United player himself, made 685 career appearances - 50 of which being Scotland caps - and Fletcher is eager to learn from the manager's experience.

Insightful

"He's insightful and because he played at the highest level himself he can impart so much knowledge to the players in the squad," he added.

"He sees the game as a midfielder and for the likes of me that's a tremendous asset. But he's also very good at instilling belief into the players.

"The one thing about being around him is that his enthusiasm is infectious. He makes you want to learn and I've already picked up new things from just being about him for a couple of days."

Following his absence from football, Fletcher admits walking back into the dressing room was not too dissimilar to the first day at school feeling.

"To be honest, it did feel as if I'd been away for a while," he claimed. "I was nervous when I joined up with the squad.

"I felt like the new boy at school and the nerves kicked in but that's a good sign and it showed that I missed it. I missed the camaraderie of the group.

"To be fair, I was dodgy in the first training session. I got the ball then gave it away the first four times."

He added: "It was a case of trying too hard to make an impression, so I had to calm down and just get back to basics.

"When you've been away and the boys have done well in your absence, it takes time to get back in a routine, but I was fine after a day or so of being back.

"There's a tremendous team spirit and the aim now is to keep going."

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