Scotland: Hearts defender John Souttar deserves call-up - Craig Levein
Hearts defender John Souttar's form merit a Scotland call-up, according to his club manager Craig Levein.
"If there is a better centre-back in the league just now I will be hugely surprised," Levein told BBC Scotland.
New Scotland manager Alex McLeish takes charge for friendlies against Costa Rica and Hungary next month.
"John's playing at the top of his game. I think he's ready. He's at the point of his career where he feels confident against anybody," Levein added.
"We all know he can pass and he can play and he can break out of defence but his heading and his general awareness of dangerous situations has improved immeasurably. He is a top, top player.
"He is excellent in possession, he is one of the quickest players in our team, he is aggressive, he is good in the air - all the things you need as a centre-back and he is playing as well as he has ever played."
Levein believes the form of Hearts captain and Scotland defender Christophe Berra has rubbed off on Souttar, with the Edinburgh club having conceded only 24 goals in 27 Premiership games this term.
"As much as you can coach and you can go on the training ground and work on things, in the heat of battle, in the moment when a decision has to be made, having an experienced player playing alongside you to help you is much better than talking about something after a game is finished."
"My own experiences of a player alongside Sandy Jardine taught me that. I've always liked to have an experienced player at the back alongside a younger one."