Mar 27, 2011

Levein names team to face Brazil

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Scotland manager Craig Levein has made no surprise additions to his team to face Brazil, with just four changes from the Carling Nations Cup.

Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor keeps his place for Sunday's friendly with Levein opting for a 4-1-4-1 formation. Bursaspor striker Miller will captain the side for the second time. He first wore the armband against Northern Ireland last month.

"It's a massive honour. It means the world to me." Miller said. Blackpool's Steven Crainey replaces the injured Phil Bardsley at right back for the friendly. Tottenham's Alan Hutton is at right back with Gary Caldwell and Christophe Berra named as the central partnership.

Levein has kept faith in the in-form Charlie Adam with Scott Brown, James Morrison and James McArthur joining him in midfield. Steven Whittaker will be charged with winning the battle for the centre of the park and providing support for Kenny Miller, who will play as a lone striker.

Miller says he will be "honoured" to captain Scotland again in the game at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium. The Bursaspor forward skippered the side for the first time in the friendly against Northern Ireland in February. And Scotland boss Craig Levein has kept faith with the 52-time capped player in the absence of the injured Darren Fletcher.

Miller and defender Gary Caldwell were the contenders for the armband. "It was a proud moment in my career and again, what better game to captain my country than a game against Brazil?" Miller said. "To walk out with the armband on in a game like this means the world to me."

Levein, who has yet to name his side but confirmed Alllan McGregor and Scott Brown will start, praised Miller's leadership qualities. "I am really pleased with the last game, Kenny's performance and the way he helped other players and how he led by example," said the Scotland boss. "So, while Darren Fletcher is ill, I think it is only right after the last performance and the example he set, that Kenny continues to do the job."

The Scotland manager said the match would be an education for him as he sees how his players cope playing the South American giants. "It is a friendly match and as such it doesn't carry the same intensity as a competitive game," he said. "It brings a different type of feeling. It is a real education for me to watch the players to see how they respond to this challenge.

"It is more about looking to continue our progress, that is the important thing for me. "We tested ourselves against the best team in the world last October and came out of that match with a lot of positive feelings. "Since then we have played two matches - admittedly not against teams of the quality of Brazil - but I think it is another great test for us and I am relishing the fixture," he added.

However, Levein also said he was not expecting his side to record their first win over Brazil in the match at the Emirates Stadium. "I haven't rushed round the bookies to put a bet on," he joked. The squad flew to London on Saturday following their final training session in La Manga.

Levein aims for club atmosphere

West Brom midfielder James Morrison needed stitches after a clash of heads during his side's 2-2 draw with Arsenal but the player is desperate to feature at the Emirates. "It will be a massive test, on a par with the Spain game," he told BBC Scotland at the team's training camp in Spain.

"The last time at the Emirates I got a win, though. We beat Arsenal 3-2. It's obviously a good hunting ground for me so why not a win against Brazil? "The training has been really intense and everyone has been working really hard. "It's not often you get the chance to play against a side like Brazil. You might never get the chance to do it again. It would be a dream come true for me."

On Thursday, Peterborough striker Craig Mackail-Smith became a surprise addition to Levein's squad. The 27-year-old, born in Watford, has previously been capped at semi-professional level with England C but the former Dagenham & Redbridge forward said he was delighted to qualify through his Edinburgh-born grandmother Margaret.

Lucas Leiva expects tough Scots test

"She has always hoped - like I would - that I would one day be able to play for Scotland," said Mackail-Smith. "I am absolutely over the moon and my gran will be the proudest gran in the world."

Levein had been left short of striking options following the withdrawal through injury early this week of Steven Naismith, with Miller the only one of the three with regular full international experience.

Scotland: McGregor (Rangers), Hutton (Tottenham Hotspur), G Caldwell (Wigan), Berra (Wolverhampton Wanders), Crainey (Blackpool), Adam (Blackpool), Brown (Celtic), Morrison (West Brom), McArthur (Wigan Athletic), Whittaker (Rangers), Miller (Bursaspor)



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