BRANDON HANLAN could not bear football being curtailed … as he has run out of box-sets to watch.
There has been a lot of debate about whether the season should be paused with more players testing positive for Covid-19 and games being cancelled as the new variant sweeps through the country.
Bristol Rovers striker Hanlan, 23, takes on Sheffield United this weekend in the FA Cup and believes keeping the season going is vital for the sanity of football lovers holed up at home.
And he cannot do without his own TV football fix especially now that he has pretty much exhausted everything to watch on Netflix.
Hanlan told SunSport: “With the times that we are in now, it’s very hard. We’re fortunate as footballers to be able to play. If you’re still doing what you enjoy, you definitely must appreciate it because it’s hard for a lot of people out there.
“Football on TV lifts people’s spirits. I watch every game myself because it gives you something to do when you’re home. During lockdown, there is definitely nothing better to do than watching football.
“Besides, I’ve watched almost every box set onthere is on Netflix. I’m a big fan of Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy and crime mysteries.”
Hanlan has had a successful first season at League One club Rovers after deciding to switch from Gillingham in the summer.
The striker has already scored eight goals in 20 outings for the Pirates – which is the best ratio of his career to date.
He has progressed steadily since growing up as an Arsenal fan, idolising striker Thierry Henry as well as Brazilian legend Ronaldo.
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Hanlan said: “They were my ideal players. My family are all big Arsenal fans so I support them too.
“I remember going to Highbury once and went to watch them at Craven Cottage but it was so long ago and I didn’t appreciate what I was seeing – the team I ended up supporting.
“It did 100 per cent galvanise me though. I’ve always loved football. I’ve never not played football.”
Hanlan played Sunday league youth football for Waterloo FC before having a trial at Charlton where he was signed by former Addicks star Jason Euell, who was coaching the youth team.
And he graduated through the ranks at The Valley before getting on to the fringes of the first team.
But it was two loan spells with Bromley in the National League and another at Colchester where he really cut his teeth.
And while with Bromley he played at Wembley in the 2018 FA Trophy final although they lost on penalties to Brackley – although Hanlan scored his spot kick.
He said: “It was a great experience. It’s everyone’s dream to play at Wembley and whatever happens in my career I can say I’ve played and scored there.”
Hanlan had two enjoyable years at Gillingham – winning young player of the year in his first season – and is indebted to former boss Steve Lovell for showing faith in him and to Steve Evans for continuing to believe in him when he took over.
The striker said: “Those two years were great because it was the first time I really got to experience playing week in, week out at a club in the League.
“And it taught me about what three points really mean and what it’s like to climb the table. It also gave me an identity.
“I wanted to give myself a new challenge. I’ve got nothing bad to say about Gillingham.”
This is Hanlon’s second crack at taking on a Premier League side – having played in Gillingham’s spirited 2-0 third-round defeat to West Ham last January.
And he hopes to go one better today and create an upset.
He said: “It’s a great opportunity. Every game is. They’re not doing so well but they are still a Premier League club and have quality players.
“If we play our best football, hopefully that’ll be enough to get into the fourth round.”
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