Former classy Scottish international centre-back Willie Miller has savaged Newcastle United’s Grant Hanley.
Saturday saw Scotland expected to comfortably beat a Lithuania side ranked 73 places below them in the world but they were fortunate to get even a draw.
The match ended 1-1 and Grant Hanley was actually key to that equaliser, flicking on a long throw to set up James McArthur for the goal.
However, Willie Miller says that whilst he ‘probably’ has to give the Newcastle player some credit for his part in that game-saving goal, Hanley ‘Doesn’t rate at all highly for his defensive qualities though’.
Miller points the finger at Grant Hanley and defensive partner Russell Martin for the opening goal from Fedor Cernych, who put the visitors one up in the 58th minute.
Grant Hanley also came close to scoring himself but Willie Miller wonders why there aren’t better options out there we it comes to defending for Scotland.
Ironically, Grant Hanley has made more starts (two) for Scotland than he has in the Championship for Newcastle, since arriving in the summer.
Rafa Benitez was persistent in pursuing Hanley as Blackburn turned down a number of bids but so far he has only selected him for the first game of the season against Fulham, United losing 1-0 as Chancel Mbemba only made the bench due to lack of match fitness and Ciaran Clark having just signed.
Willie Miller speaking to BBC Sport:
“Grant Hanley made his presence felt in the Lithuania penalty area but struggled defensively.
“Does he get an extra point for the flick-on for the goal? Probably. He doesn’t rate at all highly for his defensive qualities though.
“Grant Hanley and Russell Martin worry you, but is there better out there? That’s the question.
“The Lithuania goal came right down the middle and the centre-halves had a big part to play in that. It was well worked, but the finger has to be pointed at the centre-backs.”