CL hopes to unearth another gem

BY foxsports • November 8, 2011

Bannan shone on his full debut, a 3-0 win against the Faroe Islands last November that was marked by a full team of withdrawals. The Aston Villa midfielder became a key player in the latter half of Scotland's unsuccessful Euro 2012 campaign, although he was left out of the squad to face Cyprus because of his recent arrest on suspicion of drink-driving. Levein was hit with six withdrawals before flying to Cyprus on Monday but he is keen to see how squad debutants Jordan Rhodes, Ryan Stevenson, Gary MacKenzie and Craig Samson cope with the trip. Levein told a number of daily newspapers: "This time last year we got Bannan out of a friendly against the Faroes. "There have been other situations where we've discovered players. "So guys like Jordan Rhodes and others will hopefully step up to the plate here. "Just seeing the guys in training makes a big difference. "It also lets me see the mentality and how they cope with stepping into playing with international players in training. "Some of them get a little bit overawed by it, others take to it immediately. "It's important to see what they are like around the group. It gives me an opportunity to meet them, get to know them. "There's a bit more time than just a couple of days and playing a game." Levein believes MacKenzie, who moved from Dundee to MK Dons in 2010, is destined to play at a higher level but even the player was surprised by the call-up. "I know I've been playing consistently well for about a year, but I didn't think I was close to getting a call-up," MacKenzie said. "My gaffer Karl Robinson thinks highly of me and he told me he didn't think I'd be far away. "But I still wasn't really expecting it. "Sunday was one of the best days of my life." Versatile Hearts player Stevenson was disbelieving when told of his international chance. The former Ayr player said: "When I first got the call I thought it was a wind-up. "I was actually in shock because I had to basically down everything I was doing at the time and get to Mar Hall as quickly as I could. "But it was a special moment for me and it's something I'll always remember. "The thing is we've just moved into a new house and my wife was looking forward to me having a couple of days off to get everything finalised and sorted! "But you wouldn't change being called up for Scotland for the world, would you?"

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