Hardline Levein

Last updated : 03 August 2010 By Ed_ScottishFitba
Scotland boss Craig Levein has not pressurised his selection of Scotland players to join up with him during the summer break after a hard season. He is looking for some some gratitude when they link up for next Wednesday's friendly against Sweden in Stockholm. It is only his second game in charge since taking over from George Burley in December, the first being a 1-0 win over the Czech Republic in a challenge match at Hampden in March. This will be his only chance to get the players together ahead of the 2012 European Championship qualifying double-header against Lithuania and Liechtenstein in September. The former Hearts and Dundee United manager had to deal with the fact that, with Carling Cup games taking place in England next week, some managers - such as Dave Jones of Cardiff and Gordon Strachan of Middlesbrough - may not be too happy at losing players for a friendly. However, Levein said: "The easiest thing for me would have been to organise a game in the summer because I wanted to get involved with the players. But I didn't think it was the right thing. It was a long, hard season. I wanted to let the players have a good rest and not put too much of a load on them. But they have been away on holiday, they have recuperated and they are fresh and I'm hoping that generosity will be repaid."

Levein does not look as if he will be a soft touch when it comes to requests for players to be released from the squad. he went on: "
I am asking for the players to be available for one game prior to the start of the EUROS. We only have a five-team group which means four games in September and October. I don't think the demands that the SFA are putting on the clubs is enormous and I need as much cooperation as I can get. Every international manager is hopeful that when you get to kick-off time that you have your best players available. I have had requests for players to be allowed to call off because there are games on the Tuesday night. But the international date has been in the calendar for a long time. The Championship chose to schedule Carling Cup games for the Tuesday night. They can't not come because of club commitments. I have a degree of sympathy, of course, with managers who want to have their best players available for these games. But my allegiances lie only with Scotland and I've got to do what is right and I also have to do what I think is fair. I can't allow some teams to have players call off because they have a game on and not allow others. So in the interest of fairness to everybody and what I think is best for the national team, then all the players will be called up."
Ger Harley (ger@scottishfitba.net)

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