There has been plenty said about Grant Hanley and the future - but his performance in Scotland in their final Euros game proves he is up for the fight at Norwich City. 

It has been a torrid 18 months for the Canaries captain - an Achilles injury at Ewood Park back in March 2023 has left him fighting for his career at this level. 

At one stage, international football seemed like light years away for Hanley. Now, he has surpassed 50 caps for his country and is preparing for an important pre-season with his club.  

Many inside the game warn of the difficulty of recovering from such an injury. Some even believe there is a significant likelihood that a player who suffers from it will fail to reach their levels pre-injury. 

The injury wasn't straight forward. It required time, surgery and then a lot of building back up. Once ruptured, it becomes easier to repeat; reference Daryl Dike at West Brom, who suffered a second within six months of returning. 

Recoveries are difficult due to the complexity of the issue. That is why Hanley has been forced to show patience and even dipped out when pushed back into the side prematurely at the beginning of the year. 

Naturally, the severity, type and length of his lay-off has prompted questions over whether he will be a frontline option again for Norwich. That was fuelled further by his withdrawal from frontline action during their charge to the play-offs at the end of last season. 

With so little football under his belt, a total of 552 minutes over just eight league matches, there was surprise that Steve Clarke included him in Scotland's European Championship squad - but it is little more than evidence of how highly he rates him. 

Despite some raised eyebrows and puzzled expressions upon his inclusion, Hanley has shown with his performance against Hungary, despite a 1-0 defeat, that he can hit the heights he has done previously. 

The simple reality is that if he can do it more consistently, he will be an asset for Johannes Hoff Thorup during his maiden season at Carrow Road. 

Of course, one game is not a big enough sample size to even begin to suggest that a corner has been turned or that it can be replicated across a gruelling 46-game season, but it shows that Hanley can hit those levels.

That was the question being asked by so many since his comeback. Perhaps the question is now 'can he do it again and again?'. Hanley can only answer those questions with performances, now it's about consistency. 

Grant Hanley suffered a serious Achilles injury in April 2023.Grant Hanley suffered a serious Achilles injury in April 2023. (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd)

There have been rumblings, without serious substance, over a potential loan move away from Norwich this summer, with his contract having entered its final 12 months. The defender, who turns 33 in December, has it all to play for in the upcoming campaign. 

It may well be the case that Hanley's next step is away from Norfolk - but after 193 games and being a strong presence in the dressing room, there will be a role for him to play even if it isn't a frontline one. 

Thorup will, as with so many of City's squad, want to watch Hanley in close quarters to assess the role he can play in his squad. With Shane Duffy and young Brad Hills for competition, there is still plenty for the Scot to prove. 

The new City boss sent a clear signal to his experienced professionals at his unveiling press conference on Friday, reiterating the important role that they will play despite the discourse surrounding increased opportunity for youth marked by his arrival. 

Thorup's captain at Nordsjaelland was 35-year-old Kian Hansen, who was under a month younger than the Canaries head coach. He will look to embed the likes of Hanley, Duffy and Ashley Barnes into his squad, at least initially. 

Hanley was a warrior for Scotland. The defensive fundamentals that have been a strength of his throughout his time at Carrow Road were on full display. 

There are, of course, limitations in possession. Hanley would be the first to admit it is not the most comfortable aspect of his game. But to rubbish his quality on that one facet of his game would be foolish. 

After all, Hanley did feature in the last Championship title-winning campaign under Daniel Farke in 2020/21 in a possession-orientated side. It is about negating those shortcomings rather than stripping them away entirely. 

Hanley is a two-time title winner at Carrow Road.Hanley is a two-time title winner at Carrow Road. (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd)

Jose Cordoba is a ball-player and was recruited as such, so there may be a possibility to pair him alongside someone more progressive in possession - as Farke did with Hanley and Ben Gibson in that campaign three seasons ago. 

What Norwich and Thorup can't and won't be is reactive to one performance. But it will be a welcome sign that he can rediscover a level of performance similar to that prior to his injury. The hope is that it's the start of a consistent trend rather than a one-off. 

It's a big pre-season for multiple Norwich City players, and Hanley is certainly no exception.