Ryan Porteous 'doesn't get credit he deserves' as Hibs colleague Paul Hanlon highlights improvement
There can’t be many people better placed than Paul Hanlon to give an honest assessment of a fellow Hibs centre-back’s progress.
The 31-year-old is now in his third decade of representing the Easter Road side and is closing in on 500 appearances in green and white.
While he has had numerous defensive colleagues over the years he has developed a strong partnership with Ryan Porteous, nearly ten years his junior, over the last season and a half.
Club captain Hanlon has watched the highly-rated 22-year-old go from strength to strength and despite transfer interest from England and further afield and a first call-up to the Scotland senior squad in the last 12 months, feels Porteous perhaps doesn’t get as much praise as he might expect.
“I would say he does not get as much credit as he deserves, the way he plays at times,” Hanlon said.
“He’s great to play next to; whole-hearted, fully committed as always, and at the same time he has a lot of quality on the ball and he never hides.
"He’s as brave as you can get in terms of going into a tackle and is as brave as anyone in terms of taking the ball and making those difficult passes. It takes a lot of courage, especially for a young player like he is. I think he has really grown in stature with his performances so far this season.”
Porteous developed a bit of a habit for big challenges in his first sustained run in the Hibs first team and Hanlon believes he has learned when and when not to do it, following one or two red cards in high-octane matches and criticism from opponents and opposition managers.
“Going back a few years there was a lot of spotlight on him in terms of making the odd rash tackle here and there,” Hanlon agrees.
"He’s not cut it out of his game because he has that big tackle in him and it’s great – the fans absolutely love it – but it’s doing it at the right times and making the right decisions.
"There is a fine line, especially in modern football with the way you can challenge now. It’s a physical game and he wants to win, he’s desperate to win for Hibs and you can see that every time he steps upon the pitch.
"He’s young but he’s got a lot of experience now, he’s played a lot of games in a row and he’s an ever-present in the team. These things come with experience and knowing when to do the big tackles and when to sit off. He’s only going to get better.”
Hanlon's defensive colleague was guilty at times of making errors but the way he deals with it is to be admired.
"That’s the biggest positive in terms of his mindset now: if he does make the odd error in the game, which we all do – it’s perfectly normal, especially when you’re trying more difficult passes – the way he reacts is brilliant. He grits his teeth and gets on with it and it’s like it never happened.”