O’Neill rules himself out of Fletcher-Levein row
FORMER Celtic manager Martin O’Neill has ruled out getting drawn into the ongoing row between Steven Fletcher and Craig Levein.
Fletcher’s continued absence from the Scotland squad is again in sharp focus after the two goals he scored on his Sunderland debut against Swansea last week.
With the World Cup qualifiers starting against Serbia this weekend, Fletcher’s fall-out with Levein and his exile from the Scotland side is attracting much debate.
But Sunderland manager O’Neill isn’t getting involved. He is just happy that Fletcher can stay at the Stadium of Light to work on his fitness after an ankle injury hampered his pre-season.
O’Neill, who spent £14 million to sign Fletcher from Wolverhampton Wanderers last month, said: “There is no point me getting involved, because I don’t really know the politics of that one at all.
“There seems to be friction there between the player and the manager, but I really don’t know.
“What I do know is that it is an opportunity for us now to try and get some real proper work in with Steven – and I mean real physical training.
“He will do great for us. He has had a good start and when he is fully wound-up he will be a proper player.”
Fletcher made a memorable debut at the weekend as Sunderland drew 2-2 at Swansea. He opened the scoring on 40 minutes after capitalising on a defensive error and curling the ball into the net, and doubled his tally before half-time from close range. But the former Hibs striker accepts he needs to put in some hard work to get his fitness up to scratch.
He said: “With the break coming up I can now get in to the training ground and build up my fitness work.
“Every day and week is helping me and I felt okay after 70 minutes at Swansea. I’m sure I will feel even better in the next game.
“I just need to build up some fitness. Some of the lads have international games coming up so they will keep going and get fitter and I need to use this week wisely.
“It has taken a bit of pressure off me getting the goals straightaway. But there’s no pressure from the transfer fee. It doesn’t bother me.”
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 7 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West