City skipper hails Godfrey's efforts during defensive injury crisis

Grant Hanley celebrates with Ben Godfrey following Norwich City's 3-1 home win over Newcastle in August 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Grant Hanley celebrates with Ben Godfrey following Norwich City's 3-1 home win over Newcastle in August Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

Ben Godfrey can handle the Premier League pressure but knows Norwich City's experienced players are there for him when he needs advice or support.

That's the view of Canaries captain Grant Hanley, who has had to assume the role of a frustrated spectator for much of the last two months alongside fellow injured centre-backs Timm Klose and Christoph Zimmermann.

Hanley played the opening three games of the season before finally giving in to injury, needing groin and hernia surgery, leaving England Under-21 international Godfrey as City's only fit recognised centre-back.

"I think it helps being such a good player," Hanley said. "That kind of speaks for itself and you gain that respect straight away, of being such a good player. But it is tough for Ben because you forget how young he is and it does put a lot of pressure on him, so it's especially important that the lads get round him and help him.

"Even the back four in general is so young and you've got lads who are playing in there who are not centre-halves as well, so I think big Tim Krul has been brilliant for them, like he always is.

"He's a real leader out there, he always says the right thing at the right time and that's massive, especially on the pitch.

"It's alright to speak off the pitch and help, to try and give your advice, but when you're on there and it's actually happening in front of you it's nice to have Tim's voice, his character and his personality to help them along."

City are bottom after 12 games and hoping Hanley and Zimmermann can return to bolster their defensive options in the next few weeks, with a trip to Everton on Saturday up next.

"I don't know what's happened, somebody's run over a cat or something! I've never seen luck like it before," Hanley continued. "Ben (Godfrey) is still so young and in a position he's only played in for a year. To have three centre-halves out, it's like nothing I've ever seen before.

"Obviously it's not just that, we've had a lot of injuries but it's something you've got to deal with, that's football and there are never any excuses, you've just got to make the best of what you've got.

"It's tough, especially when you're trying to get yourself ready for the best league in the world and arguably the two positions you need to be most stable and consistent, you've not really got anybody fit."

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