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Fletcher not certain to start for Scotland

Scotland assistant manager Peter Houston has welcomed the return of Steven Fletcher but has refused to guarantee him a starting spot against Wales.

The 25-year-old was called up for the first time in 18 months following a reconcilement with manager Craig Levein after informing the backroom staff that he did not want to be considered for selection in February 2011, via text message.

Asked if his involvement would put pressure on Levein to hand Fletcher a starting berth for the World Cup qualifier on Friday night, Houston said: “Absolutely not. Why would we feel pressure? It is a squad game.

“I haven’t spoken to the manager regards whether he is going to play or not. I think the biggest thing at this early stage is making sure everyone is fit.

“It might be that he is picked in two games, it might be that he is picked in one game, he might not be picked at all.

“It is something that has not been discussed. But to say there is pressure, then I would say no.

“It won’t be awkward if we play him or don’t play him. He is here in the squad and is happy to be in the squad.”

Houston was quick to deny any reports of squad unrest over the decision to bring Fletcher back into the fold, claiming there have been no problems with the rest of the camp.

“There will be no resentment. This is a group of players and we will go with the best team we can get to try to win us a game,” he said.

“He has been welcomed back and it is nice to see him back.

“He is a top striker and we need every player we can to get good results so we are delighted he is here.”

Stoke midfielder Charlie Adam also reinforced Houston’s comments regarding Fletcher, expressing his satisfaction that a player of his calibre is available at Scotland’s disposal.

“You want your best players available. He is one of our best players and it is good to see him back involved,” Adam said.

“It’s up to the manager if he plays but for us, it’s good to have him in the squad because he adds to the quality that we already have.

“We are all in the same boat – we want to get to Brazil and hopefully the quality that has come into the squad for these two games can enhance our chances.”

Mon 8 October, 2012
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