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Page last updated at 16:47 GMT, Monday, 27 September 2010 17:47 UK

No Scotland U-turn for Barry Ferguson

Barry Ferguson in action for Scotland
Ferguson will not be adding to his 45 Scotland caps

Barry Ferguson has decided that he will never play for Scotland again.

Earlier this month, Scotland manager Craig Levein said he would welcome the Birmingham midfielder back for the Euro 2012 campaign.

The 32-year-old then hinted to BBC Radio Scotland that he may be tempted to return after being banned for a breach of discipline in April 2009.

Levein first discussed a comeback with Ferguson during the winter and made another recent approach to the player.

"During a live radio broadcast, Barry Ferguson intimated that he may consider a return to international football," said a Scottish Football Association spokesman.

MY SPORT: DEBATE

"In subsequent conversations with the national team coach, Craig Levein, and the team scout, Michael Oliver, Barry has confirmed this not to be the case.

"He will therefore not be considered for selection and the matter is now closed."

Asked by BBC Radio Scotland on 15 September about the possibility of a return for Scotland, Ferguson said: "It does play on your mind. It's not an easy decision to make."

He revealed that it "hurt" not be involved in Levein's quest to reach the Euro 2012 finals and added: "You can never say never in football. I don't have a fear of going out and being booed.

"It never leaves you. You always want to represent your country. To captain Scotland is the pinnacle of your career, is it not?"

Ferguson incurred the ban for his part in a late-night drinking session at the Scotland team's hotel and then made a v-sign gesture while on the bench during a World Cup qualifier against Iceland at Hampden.

Alex McLeish has not said 'you're not going to play for your country'

Derek Ferguson
- older brother of Barry

Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor was also expelled from the international set-up for the same misdemeanours but has since returned.

With Lee McCulloch suspended and Kevin Thomson and Paul Hartley nursing injuries, Scotland are short of experience in central midfield for next month's double-header with Czech Republic and Spain.

Ferguson's older brother, Derek, told BBC Scotland that he spoke to the Birmingham star on Saturday.

"We had a long chat and he poured his heart out, so I wasn't surprised to hear his decision," said the senior Ferguson.

"But I'm gutted because I'm a Scotland fan and I'd have loved to have seen my younger brother back for Scotland.

"It's been playing over and over in his mind and now he's finally put it to bed.

"I was confident he was going to come back but, if he isn't 100% right mentally, he has made a wise decision. You don't want to be part of something if you're not fully committed.

Barry Ferguson is enjoying life at Birmingham
Ferguson signed an extended Birmingham contract in the summer

"There are some things that are niggling away at the back of his mind.

"I think he was a bit worried about the media circus that would probably surround him. It might even take away from the game.

"He is enjoying the quiet life down there. He's away from the goldfish bowl up here.

"I can see it in him physically, he is looking better. He's a happier man, he is not in the spotlight."

Derek added: "There are two or three things that influenced him. The other one is probably Alex McLeish. Alex McLeish has a big influence on Barry.

"Alex McLeish has got to look after himself and Birmingham. Because he's the wrong side of 30, if he goes away and plays international matches, is he going to be fresh for Birmingham?

"Alex McLeish has not said 'you're not going to play for your country'.

"He is just putting his case forward and saying: 'are you going to be able to play these games after international breaks?"



see also
Levein hints at Ferguson return
16 Sep 10 |  Scotland
No Scotland return for Ferguson
06 Jul 10 |  Football
Ferguson calls time on Scotland career
06 Jul 10 |  Football
Ferguson 'would welcome 50th cap'
10 Feb 10 |  Birmingham
Ferguson unsure on Scots comeback
08 Feb 10 |  Football


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