Steven Fletcher & Darren Fletcher recalled to Scottish squad

BBC Scotland has revealed that national team manager Craig Levein has recalled Darren Fletcher and Steven Fletcher for this month’s World Cup qualifiers against Wales and Belgium.

Steven Fletcher has not been in the national set-up since making himself unavailable for selection for a friendly against Northern Ireland in February 2011.

His inclusion is a surprise, given his and Levein’s strained relationship.

The squad also sees the return from illness of midfielder Darren Fletcher.

He is back playing again for Manchester United following 10 months of rehabilitation from a chronic bowel problem.

The midfielder won the last of his 58 caps in a friendly against Cyprus in November 2011.

On the recall of striker Steven Fletcher, 25, Levein 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 there 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 he was desperate to come back and play.

“For me, then, it’s a no-brainer.”

Fletcher has been in excellent form for the Black Cats since his summer arrival, scoring five goals from five Premier League appearances and has given Martin O’Neill’s team the sort of cutting edge that Scotland fans crave after stuttering through home World Cup qualifying qualifiers against Serbia and Macedonia with just one goal scored and two points attained.

The former Hibernian attacker’s has only scored one goal in eight international appearances however.

Fletcher’s absence from Scotland began when he informed a Scottish FA representative by text message that he did not wish to be called up by Levein.

The player felt that he had not been given sufficient chances to impress by the Scotland manager, despite the national side’s struggle for goals.

Levein, for his part, had made it clear that, for Fletcher to be subsequently included, it was up to the player to show that he was completely committed to the cause.

The manager has often spoken about his efforts to forge a “club spirit” within the Scotland squad.

Celtic midfielder Scott Brown is another player returning to the Scotland squad. He missed the first two Group A matches with a hip injury.

Everton forward Steven Naismith has been included but he could be banned from the ties if FIFA decide his apparent elbow on Serbia’s Srdan Mijailovic at Hampden deserves to be punished.

The incident was not included in the referee’s or match commissioner’s reports but football’s governing body was made aware of the matter.

Scotland Squad to play Wales and Belgium:

Gilks, McGregor, Marshall; Berra, Caldwell, Fox, Hanley, Hutton, Martin, Mulgrew, Webster; Adam, Brown, Darren Fletcher, Forrest, McArthur, Maloney, Morrison, Snodgrass;  Steven Fletcher, Mackie, Miller, Naismith , Phillips, Rhodes.

William Hill Sports


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