Saturday’s loss to Norwich City may not have been his finest performance, but lately, he has shown he has a point to prove, hasn’t he? Ashley Fletcher was not on top of his game at all at the Riverside, but that should not mean his recent form is overlooked.
Fletcher has had to bide his time for regular opportunities at Middlesborough. Despite featuring consistently in the Cup competitions, bar four substitute appearances at the start of the Championship season, he has had to wait until February for consistent League game time under Tony Pulis.
The 23-year-old has netted three times in his last six appearances and considering that Boro have not been blessed with chances recently, his return is not too bad at all.
It is worth noting too that Pulis’ system does not exactly do Fletcher the best of favours. The direct approach does not hugely suit himself or Britt Assombalonga, as both are better when making movements in behind the opposition rather than holding the ball up in front of them.
Yes, he has to improve significantly to really become a guaranteed starter for Boro, but as he has been left out of the matchday squads for roughly half of the campaign so far, it will take him a while to build up consistency in his performances and the development will come with that too.
So, if Pulis was to move on at the end of the campaign, that could present Fletcher with a good opportunity to make a fresh start and, potentially, a lasting impression on whoever could be the main figure in the dugout.
If it was to be someone that placed more of an emphasis on attacking football and play in the final third, then that could be exactly what Fletcher needs to kick on at Boro and establish himself in the starting 11.
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