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Grant Hanley pulls out of Scotland squad for upcoming friendlies

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 19 Mar 2024

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Grant Hanley has withdrawn from the Scotland squad for the friendlies against Netherlands and Northern Ireland as Norwich strive to get the defender back to full fitness.

The 26-year-old has made nine appearances for the Canaries since returning on Boxing Day after eight months out with an Achilles injury.

However, Hanley has missed his club’s last two matches in the Championship after limping out of their defeat at Middlesbrough earlier this month.

It was confirmed by the Scottish Football Association on Tuesday morning that Hanley will not feature in Scotland’s upcoming friendly double-header, meaning he will not have played for the national team for more than a year by the time Steve Clarke selects his squad for the European Championships.

Norwich manager David Wagner said after Saturday’s win at Stoke that, after conversations with Hanley and the club’s fitness and medical staff, they had agreed to “pull him out of team training because he is not as explosive and as sharp as he was when he was on his best.”

“He is a very physical centre-half,” added Wagner. “If he is physically on his best then he is one of the best, or the best, in the division. We have to make sure, and he feels the same, to get him back to that level.

“So we now pull him out of team training and we give him a proper individual programme in the next couple of weeks, or how long it will take, to get back to that level.

“Obviously, we all together know it was a very serious injury and it takes time, even if we are happy that his Achilles is fine. But we have to get him back to the explosive, sharp Grant Hanley he was before his injury.”

It remains to be seen if Scotland will call up a replacement centre-back for Hanley, who won the last of his 48 caps in the home win over Spain a year ago.

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