Boro paid a hefty £6.5 million to sign Fletcher in the summer of 2017 (BBC) despite the fact that he failed to make an impression during spells at West Ham and Manchester United. And he has struggled to live up to that price-tag ever since.
Fletcher has scored just one Championship goal in Middlesbrough colours and has fallen well down the pecking order this season, starting just two league games with another five appearances coming off the bench.
But Slaven believes the 23-year-old can still be a success at Riverside and has warned against casting him aside so early.
“He is fast, he is technically gifted and he makes intelligent runs. There’s definitely a player in there,” said Slaven, who scored 146 goals in 381 games for the North East outfit.
“I don’t get how so many Boro fans wrote him off so quickly. They’ve hardly seen him play. How can you judge a player fairly on that? How is he going to show what he can do?
“He arrived for a big price-tag but you can’t blame him for that. You can’t use that as a stick to beat him.”
Fletcher certainly looked lively during Boro’s 1-0 win away at Blackburn Rovers last time out but he needs to start scoring to silence his critics.
The Mirror reported that Hull City and Hibernian were keen to sign the 6ft 5ins centre-forward on the final day of the January transfer window.
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