Levein: Fletcher re­call was a no-brainer!

Midweek Sport - - THURSDAY OCTOBER 4 -

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.

Bul­let

“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.

Form

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.”

DE­LIGHT: Len­non saw his team make his­tory

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