Norwich City skipper tells stars to keep the chin up as Pukki earns praise
PUBLISHED: 07:03 16 August 2018 | UPDATED: 08:37 16 August 2018
Grant Hanley doesn't want to see any heads dropping, as Norwich City's fringe stars are left to play the waiting game.
So far from Daniel Farke’s squad, 10 players have played more than 90 minutes of Championship action – with a number of those not involved in the league, given pitch time in Tuesday’s Carabao Cup success over Stevenage.
But the thirst for second-tier action will be fuelling the competition in Farke’s squad during training – and City captain Hanley wants that to be used as a positive.
“It is a big squad and that’s football – we’ve all been in that situation before (where you’re not being selected) and it’s up to the lads to stay focused and not get downhearted with it,” said Hanley.
“But what I will say is there’s a great team spirit and all the lads are together. Everybody is working hard and in the same direction.
“The lads that are playing know they have to stay on form to stay in the team, and the lads that maybe aren’t in the side know they need to keep working hard and keep impressing in training.
“Then when they get their opportunity, they need to make sure they can get in the team.
“I think it’s healthy because it’s competition within the squad and everyone is pushing to get a place in the starting XI – and it’s only going to make everybody push.”
Hanley’s words ahead of City’s Carabao Cup bow this season saw some impress against Stevenage – although the wait for them all seems likely to go on beyond Norwich’s trip to Sheffield United on Saturday. Alex Neil’s Preston visit Carrow Road four days later.
Hanley added: “I think it’s up to the more senior players in any squad to set demands and set the standards high. But it’s not rocket science. You go with it and if you’re not at it 100pc of the time, you’re going to get left behind.
“So it’s up to the lads to make sure they keep at it.”
Meanwhile, Hanley admitted he has been impressed with summer signing Teemu Pukki – who was given a rest from the starting line-up in midweek, but still provided the assist and goal from the bench that ensured City made it into the second round.
“I think he showed it in both league games that he’s got great ability and that wee bit of nous to find a bit of space and know how to create space for himself,” said Hanley.
“And you can see he’s got the quality to go with it. He’s got an eye for a pass and an eye for goal.
“I think he’s still settling in and even though he is impressing already, I still think there’s a lot more to come from him.”
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