Fletcher relieved to end Scotland exile

08 October 2012 02:17

Scotland striker Steven Fletcher admits he was relieved to finally end his 18-month international exile after burying the hatchet with boss Craig Levein.

Fletcher had been ignored by Levein since telling the Scotland coach that he did not wish to be selected for a Carling Nations Cup game against Northern Ireland in February 2011.

But the in-form Sunderland star held peace talks with Levein last week and is back in the Scotland squad for Friday's World Cup qualifier against Wales and next week's clash with Belgium.

"I had a good chat with the manager when he came to visit at the training ground last week and, while it was important we discussed the past and put it to bed, it was more important that we focused on the future," Fletcher said in an interview on www.scottishfa.co.uk.

"I understand why people want to know what changed, but the truth, as the manager said last week, was that the situation wasn't helping anyone. I am a proud Scot and it is a privilege to play for my country.

"Everyone knows it has been too long since we last qualified for a major finals and I want to do my bit to help us reach Brazil."

Fletcher has scored five goals in six appearances for Sunderland this season and Levein was keen to get the former Wolves forward back in the fold.

The 25-year-old agreed that the situation had gone on for too long.

"I am desperate to play for Scotland again and, like Craig, I regret that it has taken this long to come about," he said.

"I'm sure we have both done a lot of thinking during the last two years. When I first spoke to Craig again it was fine and was not awkward at all.

"We both said our piece and agreed that whatever happened, the country comes first."

Source: AFP

World Cup Group G

Belgium 1 0 0 3 3
England 1 0 0 1 3
Tunisa 0 0 1 -1 0
Panama 0 0 1 -3 0
Last updated : 08:44