Not many Scottish football players could claim that at one time in their careers they were on par with the likes of Zinedine Zidane and George Best. John Fleck and Mark Kerr could.
Don’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of these Scottish maestros as most football fans who haven’t played the game Championship or Football Manager haven’t heard of them as well.
These two players were the answer to Scotland’s midfield conundrum and misfiring strikers and Football Manager aficionados waxed lyrical whenever they were describing their attributes. In fact, if these players were as good in real life as they were in the legendary game, you could imagine them having the shortest odds for receiving the Ballon d’Or at places such as novibet.co.uk.
However, even thinking about John Fleck and Mark Kerr being in contention for football’s top individual prize can make you fall of the chair laughing; such was their ineptitude in real life.
John Fleck – Eden Hazard, but with Better Shots from Distance
John Fleck was touted to be the next George Best. He was a great dribbler and an excellent crosser of the ball and his creativity levels were difficult to be matched by even the greatest attacking midfielders.
He could also score goals for fun outside the box and his off the ball movement made him a thorn in the eye for opposition defences. When you factor in his eye for a killer defence splitting pass, you could see why virtual managers were fighting to sign him from Rangers.
However, Fleck’s real life career is much less illustrious. As most Rangers fans know he spent a large part of his career at Rangers. As he was a product of their academy, they gave him enough chances to impress, but in the five years he spent there, he only made 41 appearances and scored paltry two goals.
Currently he is playing for Championship’s Sheffield United fighting to get them promoted. There, he gets more minutes, but his goal input has sadly not improved yet. Considering that he is on the wrong side of his twenties, it is highly unlikely that his shooting skills will improve.
Mark Kerr – The Original Kante
If you unearthed Mark Kerr in Championship Manager 01/02, it was probably enough to make you happy for the rest of the month. This midfield maestro could be found at Falkirk and could be acquired for peanuts which meant that acting quickly was your best option of getting him.
He was basically 2001/2002’s version of N’Golo Kante, but with better technique and off the ball movement. He was prolific with both of his feet and could play a match every three days without a problem, for the rest of his life. Such was his stamina.
Real life’s version of Kerr is much less glamorous. Mark reached the peak of his career while he was playing a bit part role at Dundee United and Aberdeen and the rest of his career was spent in Scotland’s lower divisions.