‘Until Christmas he hated me!’ - City skipper on his Pukki bromance
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
He was the man entrusted to shave Teemu Pukki’s head amid Norwich City’s promotion celebrations but captain Grant Hanley admits his ‘best pal’ wasn’t always so keen on his Scottish wit.
Pukki joined the Scotland international at Norwich in the summer of 2018 and went on to enjoy a majestic campaign, scoring 36 goals in 56 matches for club and country.
It hasn’t been quite as fruitful for the striker since promotion but he still had a very respectable 18 goals in 35 games to his name for Norwich and Finland prior to football’s suspension due to the coronavirus, 11 of them in the Premier League and the others sealing European Championship qualification.
“He comes in every morning like he’s just rolled out of a skip! But I think that’s why the boys love him, because he just does not care,” said City skipper Hanley. “He’s not bothered one bit about what anybody thinks of him, he just comes in, sits on his phone and plays Candy Crush, goes out to training, hits the shower and goes home.
“I think he will probably tell you this first. He came in the summer and until Christmas he hated me, hated me. I was on his case the whole time and then we went on the Christmas party - and ever since he’s been my best pal.
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“He’s a good lad, so down to earth, nothing fancy, just wants to come in and do his job, work hard - and he enjoys a beer with the boys as well.”
Five goals in the first four games of the season earned the 30-year-old the Premier League Player of the Month award for August but his momentum was disrupted by a fractured toe after scoring during a 1-1 draw at Leicester in December.
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Pukki played through the pain though, with Josip Drmic already injured, notching two penalties in the subsequent 12 games and missing just two matches.
“He’s never injured, he’s never in the physio room having treatment at all, he just carries on, keeps going,” Hanley added, speaking to Celtic captain Scott Brown in a video call organised by Dafabet, the shirt sponsor of both clubs.
“Surprisingly quick as well, I don’t think he gets enough credit for that, he’s really sharp.”
- You can watch part three of the video chat above