Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher earns recall to Scotland squad

 

Steven Fletcher has made a dramatic return to the Scotland fold after telling boss Craig Levein he was desperate to play for the national team again.

He has been included in the squad for this month's World Cup qualifiers against Wales and Belgium, ending months of international exile.

The Sunderland striker has not featured since informing the Scottish Football Association by text message that he did not wish to be selected for a game against Northern Ireland in February 2011.

What followed was a stand-off between player and manager until Fletcher last month indicated on twitter that he was keen to return to the national fold.

Levein described the player's return as a "no-brainer" following the involvement of an un-named third party.

He said: "It's a big plus for me and the rest of the team for him to be involved.

"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."

Both men are set to meet face to face 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."

Fletcher has been in fine form, scoring five goals in his last four outings for Sunderland, while the Scots endured a stuttering start to their campaign with two points from home games against Serbia and Macedonia.

However, Levein refused to dwell on what might have been had the situation been resolved sooner.

He said: "The longer I thought about it, I thought we were in a situation where nobody was winning.

"So I bit the bullet, phoned him and had a chat and everything is resolved.

"Things happen and there is no point in looking back on what might have been.

"Steven has indicated his willingness to play, we have resolved any issues we had and he will be in the squad the same as everybody else now."

Levein has also been handed a major boost with the return of Manchester United captain Darren Fletcher following a chronic bowel complaint, as well as Celtic skipper Scott Brown from injury.

The manager said: "Looking at the list of players, 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 just needs to keep the form he's in just now and hopefully he will be in the squad sooner rather than later."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
News
i100
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Danish director Lars von Trier
tvEnglish-language series with 'huge' international cast set for 2016
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering