ANDY WEBSTER revealed today that he is prepared to wait several weeks before deciding where his future lies. The Scotland centre-back is out of contract at Hearts but won’t consider his options until he returns from holiday with his family near the end of the month.
The Tynecastle club have offered a new deal on reduced terms and are waiting for an answer from the 31-year-old. Manager Gary Locke is planning for next season and club officials had hoped to get an indication of Webster’s plans before he flies to Croatia tomorrow on international duty. However, the player said he is in no rush to commit his future to anyone. Clubs in England’s Championship are interested, and reports suggest that the South African club Ajax Cape Town have contacted his agent. For now, Webster remains relaxed despite the uncertainty.
“My future is not really a major concern for me. I’ll worry about it once I come back from my holidays,” he said. “I’m out of contract, that’s the situation at the minute but I’m here concentrating on Scotland and then I’ll go away on holiday. It’s a long season so I’ll go away and enjoy spending time with my family, just being on holiday with the kids. I’ll worry about it when I get back. I think you do need a break at the end of the season to switch off mentally as well as physically, so that’s what I’ll be doing.
“I’m away now with Scotland, then I go on holiday, and then I go on holiday again. I’m just taking it as it comes. I’ll worry about it at a later date. You get dealt the hand you’re given. If somebody wants you, they want you. As a player you can only maximise what you’ve got and do your job to the best of your ability. Sometimes that’s not good enough, and that’s the joys of being a footballer and playing every week. I’m sure it’s the same in every job. I feel reasonably comfortable that I look after myself and apply myself.
“I’m 31 now so I can only influence what I can control. Whoever wants to pick up the phone, that’s entirely up to them. If they don’t, that’s also their option. There isn’t much else you can do.”
Webster revealed he has been in contact with Locke this week to discuss the matter after Hearts offered him a contract towards the end of the domestic campaign. “That literally just came near the end of the season,” he continued. “I’ve been speaking to the manager this week regarding what’s going on. There are questions I need to ask of the club and things he wants to ask me. Look at last year – pretty much everybody out of contract left after winning the Scottish Cup. It’s the same again this year.
“I’m in a privileged position that the club have spoken to me so I feel fortunate. I’ve had a great time being back at Hearts and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s difficult then for me to say ‘what about x, y and z’ or ‘what happens if you leave, what happens if you stay?’. The proof will be in the pudding, if and when we can sit down and sort it out. I don’t want to start speculating on certain aspects. You say I look quite relaxed but there’s only so much I can influence.”
Webster has never allowed a contract to expire before and feels his situation is merely a sign of the times in football. “When I went back to Hearts (in 2011) I had five or six months left on my deal at Rangers so I’ve not been in this position, but I think that’s the way the game is going now. A lot of players have contracts running out.
“Take Hearts, for example. In days gone by, they were handing out five-year contracts to just about everybody. They said if you didn’t have more than two years on your contract, you wouldn’t play. Whereas now you’re lucky if you’re getting a two-year contract. Things have changed in football.”