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Does This £5.5 Million Star Deserve A Second Chance At Newcastle United?

It’s fair to say the defender Grant Hanley has had a season far from ideal in his debut campaign at Newcastle United. Signed for around £5.5 million in the summer from Blackburn Rovers, it was expected that the big, strong former Rovers skipper would become one of Newcastle’s leaders on and off the pitch.

But Hanley has seen less time on the pitch. In fact, the centre-half has started more games for Scotland in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers than he has for Newcastle in the Championship this season.

The 25-year old has been a part of the starting XI for the Magpies on just 3 occasions in the EFL Championship and has made 5 more appearances from the bench and has managed to get himself on the scoresheet once this term. However, he has started all the cup ties for Newcastle. Due to the form of captain Jamaal Lascelles and Ciaran Clark he has often found it difficult to break into the United starting XI.

It is hard to imagine that this was the kind of battle he swapped Ewood Park for the St James’ Park in the summer. Hanley has said in the past that he wants to be out on the field, playing. Recently, he said:

“It has been frustrating at times. I haven’t played as much as I’d like to. But having said that, it’s been because the team has been doing so well. There’s not an awful lot you can grumble about you just need to keep your head down.”

Newcastle find themselves on top of the Championship table this season and look primed for a return to the Premier League for the upcoming term.

While Hanley hasn’t had a great deal to do in the Championship, he has demonstrated that when called upon, he can be a reliable presence in the backline for the Magpies.

The fact that last year’s star defender Chancel Mbemba doesn’t feature in the plans of manager Rafael Benitez makes it even more imperative that the Magpies do not sell Hanley. Mbemba has failed to adapt to the Spaniard’s scheme of things and could well be leaving the St. James’ Park in the summer.

The 25-year old former Rovers star is more than capable of stepping in should either of the first choice duo of Lascelles and Clark become unavailable due to injuries or suspensions. He hardly missed a game in his final years at the Ewood Park and has shown that he can be a leader on the field. With promotion looming large, it doesn’t make sense for Newcastle to sell one of their key squad members who has enough quality and is more than capable of helping out the team in case the first-choice options aren’t available.