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Thursday, September 6, 2012
Levein defends Fletcher absence

Kristan Heneage

Scotland boss Craig Levein has defended his decision to not call up Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher.

Fletcher, 25, recently joined the Black Cats in a deal believed to be worth in excess of 12 million, and he has impressed since the switch as he scored twice on his league debut against Swansea

Levein, though, has said the former Hibs man has made it clear he does not wish to play for Scotland.

"He indicated to me that he didn't want to play international football and he has done nothing to say otherwise since," Levein explained.

"I've left the door open for a year. He made no attempt to get back into the squad. So I thought for the sake of the players, that there was no point in me, every time we have a press conference, going over and over the same thing."

Despite Fletcher's absence, Levein is not bemoaning his attacking options, with the emergence of Blackburn striker Jordan Rhodes and QPR's Jamie Mackie providing the manager with options.

"Jordan has appeared on the scene and he gets a big move to Blackburn," Levein said. "We've got Ross McCormack banging in goals. Jamie Mackie is another one playing regularly in the Premier League so we are starting to look a bit better in that area.

"Jordan scored on his debut, his starting debut, which is a dream for anyone. Of course, Steven Naismith can play through the middle, too. We're very, very lucky in those attacking areas."

Meanwhile, new Norwich signing Robert Snodgrass is hoping to help Scotland pick up six points from their upcoming fixtures, beginning with Serbia on Saturday.

"Everyone is raring to go and there would be no better way than kicking off the campaign with a win at Hampden. We wouldn't be here if we didn't think we would get maximum points from both games and we will approach both games looking to win them," the former Leeds man said.

"Brazil is what all the lads are driving towards and it will take hard work and endeavour. Saturday will be the massive test for us to see if all the hard work is paying off."

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