Craig Levein recalls Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher as they end feud


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Steven Fletcher's international exile has ended after the Sunderland striker and his international manager Craig Levein agreed to put their differences behind them. Fletcher has not played for Scotland since he informed the Scottish Football Association via text message that he did not want to be considered for a game against Northern Ireland in February 2011.

But he has been included in the squad for this month's World Cup qualifiers against Wales and Belgium. After the text, a stand-off between player and manager ensued until the former blinked first, indicating on Twitter last month that he was keen to return. Levein, who also named the Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher in his squad, described the player's return as a "no-brainer" after the way was smoothed by an un-named third party.

Levein said: "It's a big plus for me and the rest of the team. I got a phone call through a third party during the week and that was an indication from that person that Steven was desperate to come back and play. Things progressed between myself, this third party, his agent and the boy himself.

"I got a text saying he was willing to have a chat about it so I called him last night and, as he said to that person, he was desperate to come back and play. For me, then, it's a no-brainer."

The two are set to meet this week, with Levein adding: "We went through a number of things and I plan on making an appointment for us to see each other later this week as well so we will go into it a little bit further then."

Levein has also been handed two other major boosts with the return of Darren Fletcher after a chronic bowel complaint, as well as Celtic skipper Scott Brown from injury.

The manager said: "Steven Fletcher is back, our captain Darren Fletcher is back and I've got Scott Brown, probably one of our most influential players, back as well. So it's a good day for me."

However, there was still no place in the squad for Kris Commons, who has impressed for Celtic this season. Levein said: "He's been really unlucky because he's playing exceptionally well. But it's one of the strongest areas of my team. He needs to keep the form he's in just now and hopefully he will be in the squad sooner rather than later."