Fletcher relieved to end national team exile

Fletcher relieved to end national team exile

GLASGOW - Agence France-Presse
Fletcher relieved to end national team exile

Scottish forward Steven Fletcher has scored five goals in six Premier League matches for Sunderland this season. REUTERS Photo

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 game against Northern Ireland in February 2011.

But the Sunderland star held peace talks with Levein and is back in the Scotland squad for the World Cup qualifying matches against Wales and 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 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.”