Fletcher calls on Levein to restore Scots' 'dogged' style

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The Independent Football

Darren Fletcher has welcomed the appointment of Craig Levein as new Scotland manager and demanded a return to their old obdurate ways. It is only two years ago that, under the stewardship of first Walter Smith, then Alex McLeish, the Scots nearly emerged out of a European Championship qualifying group containing both France and Italy.

Even during the more recent World Cup campaign, Scotland looked well set for a play-off berth until a catastrophic defeat in Norway last August sent them spiralling into freefall and eventually cost George Burley his job.

Now Levein has left Dundee United to take command, with Fletcher realising some drastic improvement is required. "It is important for Scotland that we went back to what we were a few years ago," said the Manchester United midfielder. "We were on the brink of something good.

"We were a dogged, hard-to-beat side who teams didn't like to come up against," he added. "We need to get back to that under the new manager. I have never worked with Craig Levein before but I have heard a lot of good things about him and I am looking forward to it."

Levein is yet to decide whether Fletcher will remain as captain, although having established himself as one of the most effective central midfield players in the Premier League, he would appear to be the obvious choice, even if Barry Ferguson ends his international exile.