City skipper discusses Scotland hopes and his underestimated pace
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Grant Hanley admits to feeling frustrated that he doesn’t have more international caps but is hopeful his consistent Norwich City form will start changing that situation.
The 29-year-old central defender has been in top form for the Canaries and has played every minute of the leaders' last 29 Championship matches.
His first three Scotland caps came as a 19-year-old and the majority of his 29 caps were earned during his time at Blackburn but after a move to Newcastle in 2016 didn’t work out, Hanley has subsequently only earned a further two caps since joining Norwich in August 2017.
That is largely due to injury problems during the past two seasons but he was called up ahead of a European Championship qualification play-off final in Serbia in November, only to have to pull out with a minor hamstring strain.
Canaries team-mate Kenny McLean scored the final penalty as a 6-5 shoot-out success followed a 1-1 draw in Belgrade, sealing qualification for the Scots’ first major tournament since the 1998 World Cup.
“I sort of got fast-tracked a little bit when I was younger because I played for the under-19s and then got in the first team pretty young, so I sort of by-passed the under-21s,” Hanley said, with World Cup qualifiers against Austria and Israel this month ahead of this summer’s Euros.
“I had a few caps and then Gordon Strachan came in and was great for me, he played me more often than not. I’ve got just under 30 caps so that’s something I’m really proud of.
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“But I’ve obviously had a sticky few years in terms of getting caps and really if things had gone differently at club level I would have had a lot more, which is a bit frustrating.
“But it is what it is and that’s the way football works sometimes. First and foremost the main thing for me is to stay fit and play regularly for Norwich.
“The only thing I can control is maintaining a bit of consistency at club level and hopefully the rest takes care of itself.”
One area of the strong centre-back's game which gets underestimated is his pace, as emphasised when he set up Timm Klose’s memorable equaliser against Ipswich in 2018.
The City skipper is happy for that attribute to be overlooked though.
“It’s poor research, isn’t it?! Someone needs to have a word and tell them to do their research properly,” he joked, speaking to the Canaries’ official All In Yellow podcast
“We never have a race but a couple of years ago we had a sprint test to measure how quick you were over different distances and I did pretty well in that.
“But I think probably Przemy (Placheta) has taken that now because he is ridiculous!
“I don’t mind going under the radar though because teams probably come and think they’ll expose that side because there’s a lack of pace - but I’ve done alright so far.”
- You can watch Hanley’s appearance on the All In Yellow podcast in the video above
- The latest episode of the Pink Un Norwich City Podcast is at the top of this article, reviewing the Canaries' win at Wycombe and looking ahead to Wednesday's clash with title rivals Brentford. Click here to subscribe