Burley stands up for Fletcher

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George Burley insists there can be no doubting Darren Fletcher's commitment to his country despite the Manchester United midfielder rejecting the Scotland boss' plea to sit out Sunday's Community Shield match.

Burley had been desperate for the 25-year-old to miss this weekend's curtain-raiser against Chelsea in case he was not fully fit for next Wednesday night's crucial World Cup qualifier in Norway, but it is understood Fletcher did not want to jeopardise his place in the pecking order at Old Trafford.

Burley, who confirmed Fletcher would captain the side in Oslo, said: "There's nobody more committed to his country than Darren Fletcher. He's obviously been faced with a difficult situation, the chance to play at Wembley in a team where competition for places is fierce."

He added: "I'm sure many other players would have taken the same decision."

"He'll join us up at the team hotel on Sunday and he'll captain us as we look to get the three points we all want so much in Norway."

It is not only the match fitness of Fletcher that will concern Burley, who has named a 23-man squad for next Wednesday's Group Nine showdown.

Scottish clubs have already suffered in Europe this term after playing sides who are well into their domestic seasons.

The same applies to Norway, who are bottom of the group, and Burley admitted Scotland would be unable to match their opponents' sharpness.

"Well, you can't," he said. "I don't think fitness is a problem because the players have been back five or six weeks.

"We'll be keeping it nice and sharp and bright and it'll be down to attitude as well of course."

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