Naismith: Sunderland star has not suffered because of this

Sunderland Gates

Steven Naismith was pleased to see Steven Fletcher score a hat-trick for Scotland.

Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher has been in poor form this season, but Steven Naismith told The National that he does not believe that his goal drought was affecting him.

“I don't think he has suffered that much,” the Everton forward said. “The way we play, he brings so much to the team that it's not all about goals.

“But, on the other hand, all the forward players in the squad have said we should probably have more goals to our name in international football. It will give him a lot of confidence because any player who scores goals does get a bit more confident from it.”

Fletcher has not scored for the Black Cats since November 3, and had failed to find the back of the net for the Tartan Army in six years - totalling 19 international appearances.

However, he broke that drought with a hat-trick in the 6-1 victory over Gibraltar on Sunday, and although the goals were only against one of the worst nations in the European qualifying campaign, they should do much to restore his confidence in the penalty area.

Whilst goals are the most important part of being a striker, Fletcher does provide much in his all-round game to show his value to his teammates. Since Jermain Defoe’s arrival at the Stadium of Light, the 28-year-old has been playing in a wide position to cater for the former Tottenham man, and this limits his effect in front of goal.

However, his workmanlike displays mean that he is needed in the team, and his willingness to both patrol the flanks and cut inside to support Defoe makes him a valuable member of a side whose gameplan is built upon teamwork over individual talent.

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