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More to come from Blackburn Rovers star Grant Hanley
GARY Bowyer has no intention of losing Grant Hanley to the Premier League this season, despite the defender’s stock rising with his international performance against England.
The 21-year-old was on the end of a 3-2 defeat for Scotland at Wembley on Wednesday, but nevertheless earned praise for his handling of the big stage and hard-fought friendly – not least from his club boss.
His international efforts have come as no surprise though to Bowyer, who has monitored the young Scot’s development from an early age as his academy coach. He believes interest in the centre half is inevitable.
But as far as the Rovers boss is concerned Hanley, who is contracted until 2018, is going nowhere yet.
“We want to keep Grant as long as we possibly can. He’s a talent. It’s the nature of the business and you have to be ready for that (interest).
“If it ever got to that stage then yes (there would be a big cheque). But we’re a long way down from entertaining that,” said Bowyer.
“If Premier League clubs are interested in Grant Hanley they’re not interested in him just because of Wednesday night. I think the level of his performances last season and the start of this season already have been high,” he said.
“We offered him a big contract – a five-year deal – and the lad’s happy here.
“He has aspirations to play up there and I’m delighted he has. If he keeps performing like that then hopefully it can be with us, and if not the lad’s destined to get there at some stage of his career.”
Bowyer admitted to a few “heart-in-mouth” moments every time Hanley went in to a challenge during Wednesday’s home nations friendly.
“It was a very good game, although it was too competitive for my liking,” said the Rovers boss.
“But I thought Grant was magnificent, for a 21-year-old playing in that arena he was a credit to himself and the club.
“From a club point of view it was a very proud moment for everyone involved because not only did you have Grant Hanley on that pitch but Phil Jones came on and not so long ago those two were playing side in the same youth team in an FA Youth Cup game, so for everyone connected with our club and our academy it was a massive game.
“I found myself at times applauding Scotland when Grant did well so it was a strange night all round.
“I’m not sure but I think Jonesy and Grant swapped shirts as well. That’s a respect that they have for each other.”
Despite Hanley playing a full game in midweek, there are no plans for Bowyer to rest him when Rovers take on Doncaster tonight.
“No,” said Bowyer. “He’s a machine. Ideally you wouldn’t have wanted him to play last night and play Friday but the lad’s as fit as a fiddle. There’s no way I could stop him playing, he just wouldn’t allow me.”
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