Levein: Fletcher recall was a no-brainer!
CRAIG LEVEIN described Steven Fletcher’s dramatic return to the Scotland fold as a “no-brainer” after hearing of his desire to play for his country again.
The Sunderland striker was a shock inclusion in the 25-man squad for this month’s World Cup qualifiers against Wales and Belgium. Until now, Fletcher had not been considered for the national team since informing the SFA by text message that he didn’t wish to be selected for a game against Northern Ireland in February 2011. Levein made it clear the door was closed to the 25-year-old at the start of th qualifying campaign, before Fletcher indicated last month via Twitter his willingness to pull on the dark blue jersey again if wanted.
And, following the intervention of an unnamed third party, the Scotland boss eventually “bit the bullet” and picked up the phone to end the stand-off for the sake of the nation’s qualification hopes.
Levein said: “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. This was the right thing for Scotland and for our chances of winning the next game. That’s why I did it.
“His willingness to come back and play was hugely important.
“And the longer I thought about it, the more 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.”
Fletcher has been in sparkling form for Sunderland following his switch from Wolves, netting five goals in his first four Premier League games for the Black Cats.
Scotland stuttered to two points from their first two games at home to Serbia and Macedonia.
But Levein refused to dwell on what might have been had the situation with Fletcher been resolved earlier.
He added: “There’s no doubt his form just now is second to none.
“He’s the in-form striker in England and there’s absolutely no doubt that is part of the thinking.
“But there’s no point looking back at what might have been.”
Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher is also back following a lengthy lay-off with a chronic bowel complaint, while Celtic skipper Scott Brown returns after a hip injury.
Levein said: “I do my best to pick the best team possible.
“Everything is about trying to win the next match. Steven coming back, along with Darren and Broony, will be a huge plus for us.”
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