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Page last updated at 15:21 GMT, Monday, 2 August 2010 16:21 UK

Scotland take hard line on Carling Cup call-offs


Scotland must come first - Levein

Craig Levein will not stand for players withdrawing from the Scotland squad to face Sweden next week in order for them to appear in the Carling Cup.

"I have had requests for players to be allowed to call off because there are games on the Tuesday night," said the Scotland manager.

"But the international date has been in the calendar for a long time.

"I am asking for the players to be available for one game prior to the start of the Euros."

Cardiff City goalkeeper David Marshall and Middlesbrough quartet Kevin Thomson, Barry Robson, Kris Boyd and Stephen McManus are the Scotland men whose clubs are involved in the Carling Cup next midweek.

However, Levein wants the strongest group of players available in Stockholm.

As an international manager you want to accommodate people but in this situation it is impossible for me

Craig Levein

"They can't not come because of club commitments," he added.

"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."

Middlesbrough take on Chesterfield 24 hours before the Scotland friendly and Levein insists he is "relaxed" about weakening the side managed by fellow Scot Gordon Strachan.

"Gordon is very patriotic as well," explained the former Hearts and Dundee United boss.

"They are over in Germany just now and I have tried to make contact but it hasn't been easy.

"But I am relaxed about it and I think that Gordon is as well.

"As an international manager you want to accommodate people but in this situation it is impossible for me."

Levein added: "The two things are never going to align completely.

Cardiff City manager Dave Jones
Cardiff City boss Dave Jones has no cover for David Marshall

"Remember, I have been on the other side of the fence when players were away for international duty. You accept it.

"I am trying my best to help people where I can but my main priority, and I keep coming back to it, is to have the best players available for Scotland.

"There might be cases where you speak to the managers and there are injuries but these things happen.

"I am sure there will be injuries before the Sweden game and the games beyond that."

Cardiff City boss Dave Jones is angry at being forced to play Burton Albion against in the Carling Cup during an international window.

Jones says he failed to have the tie postponed despite the prospect of being without a keeper.

A transfer embargo means on-loan keeper Tom Heaton cannot fill in for Marshall.

"I asked Craig if he could let the Scottish players off and they said no because he's struggling," said Jones.

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see also
Sweden 3-0 Scotland
11 Aug 10 |  Football
Jones angry over Carling Cup tie
01 Aug 10 |  Cardiff

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TEAMtalk TT's FL predictions - Part Two - 7 hrs ago
Sunday People Sports News: Levein: Players should return fresh - 10 hrs ago
Belfast Telegraph Scotland always has to come first, says boss Levein - 20 hrs ago
Edinburgh Evening News Fletch more dangerous in the company of Wolves - 27 hrs ago McGregor recalled to Scotland squad - 30 hrs ago


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