Skipper Grant Hanley says it was a straightforward decision for him to sign a new contract at Norwich City as he feels at home here.
The 29-year-old defender, who was born in Dumfries, spent the first part of his career up north playing for Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United, before joining Norwich City in 2017.
However, he says he feels at home in Norfolk as the people and the club have welcomed him from the moment he arrived.
“I am over the moon,” said Grant. “I am very grateful for the opportunity I have been given since I came here.
“The club means a lot to me. Since the moment that I walked in the door it has been so welcoming. They have made me feel part of something really special and to commit my future here, means a lot to me and my family as well. My partner loves it here, it is such a nice place to be, and the club is great with her, and we have got a little girl as well and she is nearly a year old. Everything about it is great and we are just really pleased.
“In and around the city the people are so nice and so welcoming,” he added. “For us to be so far away from home and to feel so at home, that is quite special and you don’t get that a lot in football, I don’t think.”
During his time at Norwich City, Grant has won two promotions to the Premier League and after a record-breaking season last campaign, when the club collected 97 points to win the Championship title, Grant says he is relishing the prospect of returning to the topflight.
“As a player that is where you want to play and test yourself at the highest level possible and after a good year last year, we have given ourselves that chance,” he said. “It is about being prepared now and getting a good pre-season in and being ready to compete against the best in the world.
“We work quite hard (in pre-season) and there is a lot of fitness work involved. I’m not sure many of the players will enjoy that but you get to spend a lot of time with each other and the games come around and there is a lot of opportunities to get on the pitch and impress the manager leading up to the new season.”
Grant goes into pre-season on the back of representing Scotland at Euro 2020. It was the first major tournament Scotland have qualified for since the World Cup in 1998 and, while they did go out in the group stage, Grant added that it was a proud moment for him to play for his country in the competition.
“It is definitely up there with one of the highlights of my career," he said. “To play in a major tournament for your country, it is one of the things you dream of when you are a young lad growing up and starting to play football. The experience was unbelievable and one that I will look back on fondly, with proud memories. It was a bit disappointing to go out at the group stage, but all in all, what an experience! It was so enjoyable and a really loved every minute of it.
“We (Scotland) have got to look to continually improve. It is not job done and give ourselves a pat on the back because we qualified; we want to get better and we want to go again. It is obviously the World Cup next and the target is to qualify for that and I think within the squad we have got the ability to do that.”
Grant did pick up a hamstring injury in Scotland’s final game of Euro 2020. However, that is not expected to keep him out of contention for the start of the season and he is looking forward to the opening game when Norwich City host Liverpool at Carrow Road – hopefully in front of supporters following the lifting of restrictions with regards to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“That is what football is all about,” he said. “Everybody will say the same that it has not been the same without the fans and we got a little taster of it at the Euros, with some fans being allowed back in, and it was so nice to be a part of and to get that little bit of an atmosphere back and hopefully at the start of this season we can get the fans back because they deserve it. It has been tough for them with the time they have been away.”