PLYMOUTH Argyle’s joint-leading goalscorer this season is not assured of his place on the Pilgrims’ team-coach when it leaves for their Sky Bet League One Southend United this weekend, nor does he think he necessarily should be.
Teenager Alex Fletcher sprang to the attentions of anyone who had not previously heard of the young forward when he scored two goals in four late second-half minutes to earn Argyle a 2-2 Checkatrade Trophy draw with Chelsea Under-21s on Tuesday.
He also netted a penalty in the subsequent shoot-out victory that earned the Pilgrims an extra point from the first group match in the competition, completing a memorable full debut for the first-year Home Park professional.
Eighteen-year-old Fletch is conscious, however, that he is at the beginning of his senior footballing education and, champing at the bit as he is, has faith that manager Derek Adams will aid his schooling, and that could be away from Home Park.
“I feel like I’m in a good place,” said Fletch. “Whatever he decides goes. I know I got the two goals the other night, but I’m not saying I should be starting, or sitting on the bench, every game. I know it takes a bit more time and trust than that.
“One game is one game. You can’t go too over the top about it. It was a good full debut for me, and I’m proud to look back and think that I have done that, but that’s in the past now and I have got to crack on and get as many minutes as I can in that first team.
“I know there’s more games to come, hopefully, and this is just the start for me.”
With Ryan Taylor not due back from a broken ankle for at least another two months, Jake Jervis making hay from his wide-right role, and Derek still searching for a loan striker, the manager’s current forward options are effectively limited to Alex and Nathan Blissett.
“I trust his judgment and it’s up to him completely,” said Fletch. “If he sees it fit that I stay here and fight for a spot with Bliss [Nathan Blissett], that’s great.
“We’re a bit light on the ground at the moment and, until the manager potentially brings someone else in, I am going to be pushing as hard as I can to take that spot.
“I feel like I’m in a good place. Whatever he decides goes. I know I got the two goals the other night, but I’m not saying I should be starting, or sitting on the bench, every game. I know it takes a bit more time and trust than that."
Alex has already benefited from Derek’s methods in the early stages of his professional career.
“The manager goes out of his way to make sure you feel like you are one of the senior pros when I’ve only been in the first-team changing-room for two months now,” he said.
“That’s huge. For me, as young lad, coming in, you have got to feel part of it, otherwise you have got no chance of succeeding because you have to feel like you’re a pro and you’re valued. I feel like I’ve settled in well.
“The training here is second to none but, similarly, if he thinks game-time is a better option for me – obviously at a reasonable standard, then I’ll be more than happy to go out and ply my trade somewhere else, because that’s the most important thing at the end of the day, getting minutes under your belt.
“Tuesday night was great, but I am not unaware that they are few and far between for me at the moment.”