Hibs boss Colin Calderwood today revealed he’s closely monitoring Paul Hanlon to ensure the Easter Road youngster doesn’t suffer from burn-out.
Hanlon is the only player to have completed every minute of Hibs’ 16 matches so far this season, the defender having also skippered Scotland Under-21s in four full 90-minute outings. And, while the majority of his team-mates will have a fortnight’s break following today’s clash with Dunfermline, there will be no time for Hanlon to put his feet up as he leads Billy Stark’s side in their latest European qualifying match against Holland a week on Monday.
Although he’s delighted with the way Hanlon has coped, he’s determined to ensure the young star remains as fresh as possible in a season which is barely a third completed. Calderwood said: “It’s early in the season but we have to be aware of the physical and mental demands of an entire campaign. Paul has already clocked up a fair record in playing in every one of our matches and for Scotland and we are well aware of the importance of someone like him to our side. It’s a matter of ensuring he recovers well from each match, realising we don’t have to train him every day and, for example, giving him an extra day off from time to time as he had this week.”
The 21-year-old has emerged as a key figure in Calderwood’s plans as he powers towards 100 first-team appearances in a green and white shirt. But Calderwood is well aware of the mental as well as physical demands of playing for club and country Hanlon faces along with the travelling involved on international duty, the Dutch match being staged in Nijmegen while last month entailed a trip to Luxembourg.