Scotland captain Darren Fletcher believes an appearance at the FIFA World Cup™ finals in South Africa next summer will eclipse anything he has achieved at club level with Manchester United.
The Scots' last appearance in the finals of a major competition was in the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France. However, victory for George Burley's side in tomorrow's Group 9 qualifier against Norway in the Ullevaal Stadium in Oslo will go some way to cementing second place in Group 9 for the Scots and take them one step closer to a play-off place.
Fletcher is looking for long-overdue international success to sit alongside the trophies and medals he has won at United. "There is still lots that I want to achieve at Manchester United," he said. "I've not done too bad but what is in the past is in the past, I look to the future. I would love to represent my country at a major finals, I think every player would.
"The World Cup is a pinnacle of any player's career and most of our squad haven't experienced that and the country hasn't achieved that for a long time. So we are desperate to do it. We hope we can finish second and get in the play-offs and if we did then we would fancy our chances against most teams."
The Red Devils' midfielder shares a dressing room at Old Trafford with world superstars who regularly reach major finals with their respective countries. Fletcher believes a trip to South Africa will put Scotland back on the map with players that have grown fed-up of teasing him about Scotland's lack of success.
"It's all good fun," Fletcher said. "But it has stopped now because they have got used to Scotland not qualifying and they just leave me alone - so I'm desperate for that to change. We are all desperate to play on a World stage, nothing else matters and they can give us as much stick as they want."
The World Cup is a pinnacle of any player's career and most of our squad haven't experienced that and the country hasn't achieved that for a long time.
Fletcher, who will win his 43rd cap tomorrow night, believes the Scots have developed in to more positive side under Burley.
"The squad has evolved," he said. "We have a lot of players in the wider areas, like Kris Commons and Ross McCormack, who like to attack. That was not always the case in previous when we had a lot of central midfielders and similar players. We have exciting players and it has given us more options.
"There has always been hunger but it is great to have different players in and that means we have competition for places. Nobody's place is safe, everyone can be replaced and that's good for everyone. We have 23 players here and everyone would want to start and is capable of starting, which makes the manager's job difficult."
Fletcher's position, of course, is guaranteed, but the Manchester United playmaker insists the captaincy will have no effect on his game.
"There is no extra responsibility on me," he said. "I am not going to change just because I am the captain. I won't shout more, I will do my usual thing. I talk before the game but there are a lot of voices in the squad."