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

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower