John Souttar will only report for Scotland duty next week if he is 100 per cent recovered from a hamstring injury, according to Hearts manager Craig Levein.
The 21-year-old received his first senior call-up on Monday when national coach Alex McLeish named him in a 24-man squad for forthcoming friendlies against Peru and Mexico. Hibs full-back Lewis Stevenson and Celtic winger Lewis Morgan were also included for the first time.
Souttar, though, is not yet fully fit having missed Hearts’ final two league matches of the season due to a hamstring complaint. Levein is eager to see his centre-back make his full international debut but does not want to risk further aggravating the injury.
“I’m pleased to see John in the Scotland squad. I just don’t know if he’s going to be fit and available,” Levein told the Evening News. “He’s got that knock so we’ll just have to see how he is. If he’s 100 per cent then he’ll go. We obviously have to make sure he isn’t in any danger of making his injury worse. We’ll see how he progresses over the next few days.”
Levein believes Souttar’s call-up is a reward for the player’s patience. He captained Scotland Under-21s after also winning caps at under-19 and under-17 level earlier in his career.
His consistent form throughout this season sees him join Hearts goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin in the full squad.
“Souttar has been very patient,” said Levein. “Getting selected for your first Scotland squad is a big moment. If he is selected to play at any point then it will be a really significant moment in his career.”
Scotland face Peru in Lima on Tuesday, May 29, before meeting Mexico in Mexico City on Saturday, June 2. Levein said he has no qualms with his players making the mammoth journey across the Atlantic Ocean at the end of a demanding domestic campaign.
“I like our players to be involved in international football. I think it does them a lot of good. Unless playing for their country is going to make an injury worse, then you will never hear me complaining about any of our players being selected for international duty.”