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By ESPN Staff

Uncapped Hearts skipper Berra gets Scotland call

Hearts captain Christophe Berra is determined to make a positive impression on Scotland boss Alex McLeish after being handed a surprise call-up for next week's friendly against South Africa.

The young Jambos skipper, who at 22 is the youngest club captain in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League, hopes to make his international debut at Pittodrie next Wednesday.

Berra, 22, has been brought in to act as cover for defenders Russell Anderson, Gary Caldwell, Stephen McManus and Steven Pressley, but he stands a good chance of making his debut against the 2010 World Cup hosts.

He said: 'I am delighted to be called up for my first full cap. Hopefully I can show what I have to offer.'

Berra added: 'I am looking forward to the experience and meeting the other guys.

'I'd like to thank the coaching staff at Hearts who have really helped me develop as a player in the last 12 months.'

Berra was appointed Hearts captain last week following the departure of former skipper Craig Gordon to Sunderland.

He becomes the only Hearts representative in the Scotland party, which now features 23 players, but will have close friend Gordon for company.

Centre-back Berra has previous international experience at under-21 level but has only established himself as a regular in the Hearts team in the past year, making 35 league appearances last season.

McLeish has rested several established internationals for next week's match, and Dundee United captain Barry Robson is another player in line for a first cap.

Veteran Rangers centre-back David Weir, 37, is among the players being allowed to miss the game, and Berra will be eager to seize the chance to prove he has a future at Scotland level.

Hearts assistant boss Stephen Frail said: 'It is great for Christophe and it is a reward for the performances that he put in last season. It is a boost for everyone at Hearts.'