Burley hints at Fleck call
Gers starlet could face Dutch
Last Updated: February 10, 2009 9:23am
Scotland boss George Burley is considering unleashing Rangers starlet John Fleck against Holland next month.
Fleck is regarded as one of the brightest prospects to emerge in Scotland after breaking into the Rangers side this season.
The 17-year-old has only made five first-team appearances for his club but has made such an impact that Burley is ready to fast-track him into the national team.
Burley insists he would have no qualms calling up the starlet for the crucial World Cup qualifier with Holland on 28th March.
Asked if he would consider selecting Fleck for the clash in Amsterdam, Burley said: "If he is performing well at Rangers, why not?"
He added: "I'm very excited about young John. I've spoken to Walter Smith, the Rangers manager, about him a couple of times and he thinks he is going to be a really top-class player. With any young player, you have to assess it.
"Rangers will do that on a weekly basis, but there is no doubt he is an exceptional talent at 17.
Good enough"I have always said that if you are good enough, you are old enough, and that is something I'll be looking very closely at in the forthcoming months.
"I'll be going to the Old Firm game on Sunday."
Fleck's omission from the Under 21 squad last week caused controversy, with boss Billy Stark accused of ignoring the country's brightest young talent.
But Burley, who has a track record of putting his faith in youngsters during his time with Ipswich, Derby and Southampton, is ready to gamble on a player who appears equally adept in midfield or up front.
He said: "I had a number of young players who played regularly at 17 over my club career.
"As a club manager, I was never reluctant to push exceptional youngsters through if I thought it was right, and I am the same as the national manager.
"I was fortunate enough at 17 to make my debut against George Best for Ipswich against Manchester United in 1973.
"I think Barry Ferguson was 17 when he made his debut for Rangers. I think there are less coming through but if there is a Wayne Rooney you have to look at it carefully, and if they are performing well at the highest stage then you treat is as an individual case.
"Age doesn't matter. It is how you are performing on a weekly basis for your club and what level you are playing at. If you are doing exceptionally well, you have got a chance."