Fletcher unlikely to get another Scotland chance under Levein
Thursday 03 February 2011
Steven Fletcher is unlikely to play again for Scotland under Craig Levein. It emerged yesterday morning that the Wolves striker, 23, turned down a place in Levein's squad for next week's Carling Nations Cup meeting with Northern Ireland in Dublin.
When informed that he was under consideration for selection, Fletcher sent a text message to Frank Reilly, a Scottish Football Association official, stating that he did not want to be selected and that the national team coach could phone him if he wanted.
Levein was ready to recall Fletcher after dropping him from the squad for the friendly against Faroe Islands in November and not playing him in October's Euro 2012 qualifiers against Czech Republic and Spain.
The former Hearts and Dundee United manager had shrugged off critical comments made by Fletcher about the controversial 4-6-0 formation used by Scotland in the 1-0 defeat in Prague. However, it is understood that there is virtually no chance of Levein selecting the player again.
Levein was quoted as saying: "Steven Fletcher was selected, but he has since indicated that he did not wish to be selected for Scotland."
The Scotland manager was reluctant to discuss the situation in detail, preferring to focus on those who were willing and able to make their way to Dublin next week. He said: "What I have found since taking this job is that I want to work with people who want to play for Scotland. I look at guys like Phil Bardsley, who has changed his nationality to play for Scotland and, after the Spain game, he was the proudest man in the world because his dad was in tears watching his son playing for Scotland.
"Jamie Mackie is another one: his grandfather is over the moon that he's being picked for Scotland and these guys want to run their heart out and do their best for Scotland and they made their families immensely proud.
"I just think back to the Czech Republic game when I asked the players to play in a certain way. They did everything I asked and, as a manager, if you have ideas, you want players who are willing to follow them.
"What I don't want is anyone in the squad who is not of that mind. For the life of me I just can't understand anyone who doesn't want to be part of it."
Mark Wilson, meanwhile, was thrilled to net his first Celtic goal in five years at the club as his side ran out comfortable 3-0 winners over 10-man Aberdeen at Pittodrie. The defender celebrated his call-up to the Scotland squad for next Wednesday's Northern Ireland game by heading his side's second goal as they beat the Dons for the third time in 11 days. The former Dundee United player has endured a series of injuries throughout his career – most notably numerous knee operations and recent groin trouble.
But he has emerged as a key player in Celtic's recent good run of form, which has seen them consolidate top spot in the SPL.
Wilson, who netted in the 75th minute, said: "I'm delighted as it's my first goal in five years and with the Scotland call-up it is a pretty fortunate day. I don't think there will be many more goals for me like that one – especially headers. I will certainly take it and it was a good time of the game for us to get a goal as you don't want to be going into the last bit of the game just the one goal up. It is always pretty nervy so the second goal settled us."
Wilson partnered fellow full-back Charlie Mulgrew in a makeshift central defence after injuries to Daniel Majstorovic, Thomas Rogne and Glenn Loovens along with Celtic's failure to land Stoke's Abdoulaye Faye or Nottingham Forest's Kelvin Wilson during the January transfer window.
So the 26-year-old was doubly pleased that the Hoops managed to keep another clean sheet, although Andrew Considine's second-minute red card did not help Aberdeen's cause. Wilson said: "I know a lot of people would have been thinking that Charlie and myself is not the ideal partnership.
"In all honesty it isn't but the two of us are defenders first and foremost and, when the team needs you, you step in and do your best. There is no doubt the sending-off helped us as it took a lot of pressure off but it is terrific to keep a clean sheet and big Fraser Forster made some important saves."
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