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Craig Levein convinces Hearts winger Andrew Driver to commit his international future to Scotland

ANDREW DRIVER, the Hearts winger, has committed himself to Scotland as Craig Levein’s side bid to qualify for the 2012 European Champion­ships in Poland and Ukraine.

The Herald can reveal that the Scotland manager held face-to-face talks with the 22-year-old over his international future yesterday.

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The Oldham-born player, who has been capped by England at Under-21 level, pledged his future at senior level to the man who was his first manager at Tynecastle.

Driver qualifies through the new residency ruling that states players can represent one of the four home nations if they hold a British passport and they have been educated in that country for five years.

His decision is a huge boost to Levein just weeks after he succeeded George Burley as national coach.

Driver, who was selected by England Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce in a European Championship match against Germany last June, is rated one of the brightest young players in this country. He will bring pace and flair to 
the wide areas and enhance Levein’s attacking options.

He returned to action for Hearts last weekend in their 1-0 defeat at St Johnstone after a knee injury, and will now be selected for Levein’s first game in charge, against the Czech Republic in a friendly at Hampden on March 3rd.

The qualification draw for Euro 2012 takes place this Sunday in Warsaw. Levein only wants players who are 100% committed to his cause and has now completed his tour of the UK, speaking to the players he wants.

The Herald can also reveal, that last week he held initial discussions with Barry Ferguson in Birmingham over a possible return to the fold for the former captain who was banished for his part in the ‘Boozegate’ scandal.

Ferguson’s close friends and former team-mates, Kris Boyd and Allan McGregor, will both be named in the pool for the game against the Czechs, ending their international exile.

Boyd walked out on Burley after he was constantly overlooked, but is ready to return. McGregor will also be back after his misdemeanours alongside Ferguson led to him being banned.

Meanwhile, Scotland will travel to Sweden on August 17th for a friendly that will act as the final warm-up before the Euro 2012 qualifiers commence in September.

The game has been agreed on the condition that the sides are kept apart in the draw this weekend and will be cancelled – with Scotland taking on different opposition on that date – should that occur.

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