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
  • Get to the point
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

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat