Fletchers back in Scotland squad

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GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) -Steven Fletcher's 20-month international exile came to an end on Tuesday after he was selected in Scotland's squad for World Cup qualifiers against Wales and Belgium.

Scotland manager Craig Levein said he "bit the bullet" and decided to recall the in-form Sunderland striker, who informed the Scottish Football Association by text message in February 2011 that he was unavailable for selection.

Fletcher, who is the English Premier League's joint-second leading goalscorer this season with five, indicated last month he wanted to play again for Scotland, however.

"I called him last night and ... he was desperate to come back and play," Levein said. "For me, then, it's a no-brainer.

"His willingness to come back and play - which I hadn't had indication of other than rumours - that was hugely important. And the fact is, the longer I thought about it, I thought we were in a situation where nobody was winning."

Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher was named in the 25-man squad following a lengthy layoff with a chronic bowel condition. He won the last of his 58 caps in November last year.

Celtic captain Scott Brown also returned following a hip injury.

"Steven coming back, along with Darren and Broony, will be a huge plus for us," Levein said.

Scotland plays Wales on Oct. 12 and Belgium four days later in Group A. The Scots are fourth after opening with two draws.

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Scotland:

Goalkeepers: Matt Gilks (Blackpool), Allan McGregor (Besiktas), David Marshall (Cardiff).

Defenders: Christophe Berra (Wolverhampton), Gary Caldwell (Wigan), Daniel Fox (Southampton), Grant Hanley (Blackburn), Alan Hutton (Aston Villa), Russell Martin (Norwich), Charlie Mulgrew (Celtic), Andy Webster (Hearts).

Midfielders: Charlie Adam (Stoke), Scott Brown (Celtic), Darren Fletcher (Manchester United), James Forrest (Celtic), James McArthur (Wigan), Shaun Maloney (Wigan), James Morrison (West Bromwich Albion), Robert Snodgrass (Norwich).

Forwards: Steven Fletcher (Sunderland), Jamie Mackie (Queens Park Rangers), Kenny Miller (Vancouver Whitecaps), Steven Naismith (Everton), Matt Phillips (Blackpool), Jordan Rhodes (Blackburn Rovers) .

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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