Grant Hanley withdraws from Scotland squad for upcoming friendlies

The defender will miss the games against Netherlands and Northern Ireland.

Grant Hanley has been forced to withdraw from the Scotland squad for the friendlies against Netherlands and Northern Ireland after his club said he needed to work on his fitness.

The Norwich defender was named in Steve Clarke’s squad for the double-header, with the manager keen to assess his options ahead of this summer’s European Championships.

Hanley has missed Norwich’s last two games in the Championship after coming off against Middlesbrough. The 32-year-old only made his return from an Achilles injury in late December and has played just nine games this season.

The decision to pull out of the Scotland squad comes days after his club manager David Wagner said that Hanley had work to do to get to the level of fitness required for his best form.

“He is a very physical centre-half,” Wagner said. “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.”

Asked if a new centre-back was likely to be added, assistant manager John Carver said at a press conference at Hampden on Tuesday afternoon: “No, I think we’re just going to leave it as it is.

“We’ve got enough cover in those positions so I think we’re quite happy with what we’ve got.”

Liam Cooper, Scott McKenna, Jack Hendry, John Souttar and Ryan Porteous are all part of the squad.

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