Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Fleck call not blocked: McCoist

Ally McCoist insists Rangers played no part in John Fleck's surprise omission from the Scotland youth squads this week.

The 17-year-old attacking midfielder has been a revelation since making his breakthrough into the first team at Rangers since the turn of the year.

And eyebrows were raised when he failed to make the squad for the Scotland Under-19s friendly against France next week or a gathering of the under-21 squad in Dunblane.

Ibrox boss Walter Smith has spoken repeatedly of the need to be careful with the talented youngster's development and to make sure his fledgling career is nurtured properly.

But assistant manager McCoist was unaware of any call to the Scottish Football Association requesting Fleck be excused from international duty.

"Walter hasn't indicated that to me," he said. "I can't speak for the manger 100% but I don't think that was the case at all.

"I think he has just been omitted from the squad and I don't think it's any big deal really.

"We are all in agreement that he will eventually break into all international squads so the fact that he isn't in these ones is certainly no problem for me and I'm sure it's no problem for him.

"It just means he can stay here and do a little bit of training while everyone else is away."

Fleck has now taken part in several top team SPL outings, as well as the midweek glamour friendly against AC Milan, and has already drawn comparisons with Manchester United and England star Wayne Rooney.

But McCoist insisted: "People will always make comparisons but I don't see that comparison at all.

"I think they are completely different players to be honest.

"He's got a lovely left foot. I wouldn't say he has Davie Cooper's left foot but he has a lovely left foot. He takes the ball in very well, like a young Charlie Miller.

"He doesn't remind me of anybody specifically but he reminds me of people who used to do certain things very well, which is very encouraging."

Fleck quite literally made his mark against the Rossoneri with a crunching tackle on Felipe Mattioni but McCoist was impressed by the youngster overall who was far from overawed by the occasion.

He said: "We always say here at Rangers that we don't play friendlies but I think wee Flecky took that literally!

"I think he slipped a little bit at the last minute actually but I thought the Milan players handled it really well.

"It was a poor tackle but I think they realised it was just a young lad wanting to do well and a bit too eager and excited. But Flecky did not look out of place in that company and we just have to watch it and keep monitoring it.

"It's all very encouraging and hopefully things will keep progressing."