Levein hails Fletcher factor
Craig Levein feels Darren Fletcher is the perfect man to lead a new generation of Scotland internationals.
Last Updated: 16/11/10 10:03am
Craig Levein feels captain Darren Fletcher is the perfect man to lead a new generation of Scotland internationals.
The manager has seen his already experimental Scotland squad hit by a string of withdrawals ahead of Tuesday night's international friendly against the Faroe Islands at Pittodrie.
The extensive casualty list means several emerging young Scots could grace the international stage for the first time, with as many as nine players in line to make their debut in Aberdeen.
And Levein feels there is no-one better for the job of leading the youngsters forward than 26-year-old Manchester United midfielder Fletcher, who is set to win his 53rd cap for his country on Tuesday.
"Fletcher is the best professional I've ever worked with," said Levein.
"The best bar none. He is on the training pitch this morning with a bunch of
kids and he leads by example."
While ready to utilise Fletcher against the Faroes, Levein insists he will not let the captain burn himself out ahead of his return to Old Trafford.
"He won't play the whole game and I won't send him back to Sir Alex Ferguson deadbeat," he added.
"But Darren is hungry for every single cap. He has 52 appearances and wants more."
Levein has awarded call-ups to fledgling players such as Liverpool centre-back Danny Wilson and Aston Villa midfielder Barry Bannan, who are without much experience in the Premier League.
But the manager pointed out that Fletcher himself was still finding opportunities at United scarce when he burst onto the international scene as a youngster.
"He was in the Scotland squad as a teenager when he wasn't getting all that much first-team football with Man Utd," he said.
"It gives a player a massive boost to be involved at international football. Darren's presence has lifted others here - you can see them growing being out there alongside him.
"It's the same as Bannan getting three games for Villa and realising it's not as daunting as he might have thought. That's why this game is valuable to me
and to the players."