Fletcher ends Scotland exile

Blackpool Citizen: Steven Fletcher has been included in Scotland's squad for the upcoming Word Cup qualifiers Steven Fletcher has been included in Scotland's squad for the upcoming Word Cup qualifiers

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, who has scored five goals in his last four outings for Sunderland, has not featured for the national side 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 unnamed 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."

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."

Scotland squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Wales on October 12 and Belgium on October 16: Adam (Stoke), Berra (Wolves), Brown (Celtic), Caldwell (Wigan), D Fletcher (Man Utd), S Fletcher (Sunderland), James Forrest (Celtic), Fox (Southampton), Gilks (Blackpool), Hanley (Blackburn), Hutton (Aston Villa).

McArthur (Wigan), McGregor (Besiktas), Mackie (QPR), Maloney (Wigan), Marshall (Cardiff), Martin (Norwich), Miller (Vancouver Whitecaps),Morrison (West Brom), Mulgrew (Celtic), Naismith (Everton), Phillips (Blackpool), Rhodes (Blackburn), Snodgrass (Norwich), Webster (Hearts).

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