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Scotland defender Grant Hanley opens up on Germany omission and gives fitness update

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Scotland defender Grant Hanley opens up on Germany omission and gives fitness update

The Dumfries-born player was widely expected to get the nod for the meeting with Julian Nagelsmann’s men after he kicked off the two warm-up friendlies against Gibraltar in Faro and Finland at Hampden earlier this month.

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However, the 51-times capped 32-year-old, who came on at the start of the second-half after Porteous had received a straight red card for a two-footed foul on opposition captain Ilkay Gundogan, understood why Clarke made the decision. 

“Listen, for me, during last season there were periods of time when I thought I wouldn’t be here,” he said. “From doing everything I could to get fit, to getting back into the team at Norwich, to being back out the team. It was tough, but I have managed to end up here.

“Therefore, I can take a bit of confidence from knowing that I have done everything possibly could. At the start, this was my overall goal to be involved in some capacity with Scotland at the Euros. Now I’m here I want to make an impact. I want to get on the pitch and perform.

“But I have not played loads of football this season so I am not naïve enough to think that I would be starting and playing every minute here. I understood what my role was likely to be. I am totally accepting of that.

“From my point of view, the goal was just to be here and then once I get here to try to make an impact somehow. To get on the pitch the other night was excellent for me, to get some minutes.

“Ultimately, it will help me to get to where I want to be. The friendlies were good as well. I was grateful to the manager for giving me minutes in the friendlies as well.”

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Porteous received a two match suspension from UEFA yesterday for serious foul play and will not be involved in the match against Switzerland in the RheinEnergieStadion in Cologne tomorrow night or Hungary in the MHPArena in Stuttgart on Sunday.

Clarke has five centre backs in his squad – Liam Cooper, Hanley, Jack Hendry, Scott McKenna and Kieran Tierney – but the former Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United defender should be restored to the starting line-up. He stressed that he is now in good physical condition and is eager to be involved. 

“There is not really a test I can do to show where I am,” he said. 2I feel well, I feel as well as I could be. You can’t really judge exactly where you are at. I have not played loads of football, I am not where I would have been if I had. I can take confidence from knowing I have done everything I could. I have trained hard.”

Hanley was bitterly disappointed when Scotland lost their final Euro 2020 match against Croatia 3-1 at Hampden back in 2021 and crashed out of the tournament and is desperate to help the national team to qualify for the knockout rounds of a major tournament for the first time in their history. 

“I don’t think we were all walking around every day thinking about the last time and how we never got through and we’re gutted about that still,” he said. “You move on from things and we learned our lessons from that. Obviously, the goal again is to be successful and we feel like we’ve got a squad that can do that.”

(Image: PA)

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