Levein sets Fletcher challenge

Scotland boss backs captain to break appearance record

Fletcher: Scotland skipper

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Scotland boss Craig Levein believes Darren Fletcher can make a century of appearances for his country.

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The Manchester United midfielder has already earned 52 caps, and at just 26 years of age he has plenty of time ahead of him.

He has become an integral part of the national set-up since making his debut in 2003 and was handed the captain's armband in November 2009.

Levein feels Fletcher has the potential to be a mainstay in the side for many years to come and has challenged him to eclipse Kenny Dalglish's record 102-cap haul.

He said: "I can't see Darren playing 90 minutes in this game (a friendly against the Faroe Islands on Tuesday) but I am also mindful at his age that he has 52 caps and every one he gets takes him closer to 100.

"I feel from his point of view it's best he starts the match as he's the captain and I like having him about the group. He is a top bloke and a great example so in my eyes if he stays healthy then he'll win 100 caps.

"He is still young enough to eclipse Kenny's record and it could be something for him to aspire to. It's a long way away but one of the reasons he's in the squad is to have 100 caps as a goal."

Capable

Levein has opted to include a number of young stars in his squad for the meeting with the Faroes, keen to run an eye over the potential within his ranks.

Liverpool's Danny Wilson is one of those to be given a chance, despite the fact that he is yet to hold down a regular role at Anfield since completing a summer switch from Rangers.

Levein added: "I have tried to pick a group of players here who in my eyes are in form and some of them are capable of taking the step from being on the fringes of the squad to becoming important members of it.

"The only one who is a bit different is Danny Wilson as he isn't playing with Liverpool's first team but we don't have a lot of potential internationalists at centre-half and I believe in years to come he will be a regular.

"The reason he is in the squad is so I can work with him and get to know him better."

Credentials

Aston Villa's Barry Bannan is another U21 star to make the step up into the senior fold and Levein admits he has been impressed by the midfielder's progress.

He said: "Barry has always impressed me when I have seen him play and I've watched him three times.

"He played regularly while on loan at Blackpool last season when they went on to win promotion. When he started this season he was on the fringes of the Aston Villa team and is now a regular so those credentials alone are enough for him to be under consideration.

"But his performances for the Scotland Under 21s impressed me. He's another player I don't know very well and I'd like to have a look at him up close with the rest of the group.

"I believe he has the ability and he's small but that has never been an impediment for some of the best players there has ever been."