As we all know Ashley Fletcher’s Middlesbrough contract is up in June and will now play no part for the club in between now and the end of the season after being told by Neil Warnock to leave the Boro.
Despite being fit in recent weeks NW has chosen to name him on the subs bench with Duncan Watmore playing in an unfamiliar number nine role ahead of him.
Fletcher has now been linked with a move to Sheffield United although no concrete offer has been made nor any talks got underway.
Warnock claims he was ‘disappointed’ in the player. He wanted Fletcher to stay at the Riverside and be part of his plans next season. He went on to say that Fletcher had gone back on his word that he would sign an extension.
“It disappointed me at the time because I thought the offer that we made was fabulous really, particularly in the current climate with the pandemic,” said the Boro boss.
“I thought it was an offer that he couldn’t turn down if I’m honest.”
He went on to say
“I’m one of those people who talks to people about signing for the club and if they tell me they will and then don’t, I always think I’m better off without them.
“If they change their mind and go elsewhere, I always think good riddance.”
Fletcher’s attitude in this instance could become a stumbling block in other clubs’ pursuits this summer. He has proven he can score goals at Championship level but when an experienced head like Warnock can’t work with a player, it is surely rather telling.
In my opinion if a player doesn’t show commitment to the Boro he should be shown the door and to
be fair Boro have looked after Fletcher pretty well over these past few years during “injuries” and loss of form.
A great pity because I think there is the makings of a good player inside the lad but to become great you need hard work and dedication.
I am also disappointed with Fletcher. When he first came it seemed that he fell over as soon as a defender breathed on him but when he came back after the injuries we could see he did have the ability to make a reasonable striker with more strength on the ball and better movement to find space. Considering how well the club has treated him he has not shown any thanks or loyalty but that is the norm nowadays in spite of the large salaries paid even by clubs like the Boro. (I went through the whole of my working life hoping to reach the lofty heights of the average wage but never managed it!)
As NW has made clear it is hard to find reliable strikers even more so now that Boro are cash strapped. We have to hope he can find at least one.
My feeling is that he will forever be unfulfilled potential. There is ability but it's not realised in the most important place and that place is in his head. His attitude to the club, his game and the fans is worse than questionable and I think he'll be one of football's drifters and will finally make himself unemployable. Then, one day he'll realise and it will be too late. We've seen a few of them come to Boro over the years and because of the perceived potential they hold back our younger players who move on, in fact I'm sure one or two have been Boro players who never realised their potential.
Whatever you do don't dwell on the money spent/lost because you'll go insane. You have to hope that the club learns from it, allowing for the fact that it's the hope that kills you or at the very least your inherent optimism, even Boro supporters have that!
I have to agree with the comments above other than I just get a nagging feeling that he is coming to an age where he should be at his prime and perhaps in the right team with the right players around him he may come good.
If he is unwilling to commit to us and even worse, gone back on his word, then NW is correct in his view and showing him the door was the right thing to do, after all no player is bigger than the club. 😎