Vogts prepared to wait for Fletcher

From Manchester United to Iceland. It is a journey that one Old Trafford pin-up is already embarking on, but not Darren Fletcher.

The 19-year-old Scot could not have chosen a more timely moment to announce his promise than the week when one of his predecessors in red, Lee Sharpe, revealed his next team will be Grindavik in the Icelandic league.

Sir Alex Ferguson is not inclined to make the same mistake twice. Having watched Sharpe win an England cap at 19 and help end decades of failure by bringing the title to United, the subsequent career burn-out which has taken him to a fishing port on the north Atlantic is one reason why United's manager is not endorsing Fletcher for a Scotland call-up.

He is thinking about his country's interests as much as his own. Fletcher's audacious displays in the Champions' League games against Basle and Deportivo La Coruña hinted he would not be out of his depth if he was thrown in against Iceland at Hampden Park next Saturday in a vital European Championship qualifying match. Scotland must follow up their success in Reykjavik last October – and beat fellow minnows Lithuania four days later – to sustain them until they meet the big fish in the pool, Germany, in June.

As ever injuries are starving Berti Vogts of players, but he agrees with Ferguson that Fletcher – who Gary Neville described as having the best European debut of any player since David Beckham – should be nurtured carefully.

"Darren is one of the biggest talents in Britain but we need to be careful," said the Scotland manager. "He was injured for a long time and is only just starting back. But the fact that he is now in the United team is good for us, and he is not far away from the squads."

Vogts revealed that Roy Keane had been trawling for Fletcher on the Republic of Ireland's behalf, but he has warned Ferguson to put an exclusion zone around him.

Fletcher's case sums up the dilemma for Vogts. He has emerging players, most notably Shaun Maloney at Celtic (left in the Under-21 squad again), but he is keen that they develop at their own pace. Yet, in the interim, he and Scotland require results. The hope is that they can scramble their way to Euro 2004, where they may find Fletcher and Maloney ready to join them.

Meanwhile, the gap will probably be plugged next Saturday by another who is only just recovering from falling to earth after a rapid ascent. Kenny Miller will partner Steve Crawford up front, in the absence of Don Hutchison (unfit) and Steven Thompson (suspended). Miller was a teenage sensation at Hibernian, Rangers then paid £2m for him at 20, only to underuse him and sell him to Wolves, where this season he has netted 19 times.

Vogts sees a bit of devilment in Miller's play that reminds him of Gerd Müller, his former German team-mate. "People complained about Gerd's technique, too, but he had a goalscorer's instinct and Miller has that," he said.

However, it is not doppelgängers that concern him, it is ersatz Scots. After the passionless display in the friendly defeat by the Irish last month – Vogts said he knew his team were beaten when he saw them failing to sing the anthem – the manager has written to every player.

"I told them, 'You have to do something more for your team and country', and much more than we did against the Irish. We have a chance to qualify, but you have to run and fight. No ifs and buts, we have to beat Iceland."

voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
Lane Del Rey performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
people... but none of them helped me get a record deal, insists Lana Del Rey
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Caption competition
Caption competition

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn