Don Cowie has revealed he’s on a mission to noise up the Hearts dressing-room.
The 34-year-old midfielder was pinpointed by team-mate Bjorn Johnsen last week as the most vocal member of a squad predominantly made up of young Scots and recently-recruited foreign players. As the old head of the team, Cowie has taken it upon himself to act as a galvanising force and he is hopeful his colleagues will soon start to follow suit as Hearts bid to rediscover a steely edge following a poor run of recent form.
“This is a young and inexperienced squad, so it’s only natural that you feel you’ve got to try and help everyone in the dressing-room,” the former Watford, Cardiff City and Scotland player told the Evening News ahead of tomorrow night’s Premiership trip to Kilmarnock. “It doesn’t matter what age you are – I’m not saying they have to bawl or shout at people – but if we can just get everyone being a bit more vocal, and talking to each other more on the pitch, it can be a massive help to the team.
“The more people we can get doing it, the more it will help us as a collective group. I’ve said that to some of the boys. Even just little things like telling your team-mate where the opposition player is, it can all add up and make things better for the team.”
Cowie expects the younger players to develop into vocal leaders as their careers progress, while he believes the new recruits are reluctant to be too forthright because they have only recently arrived at the club. The 34-year-old himself admits he was often timid in a dressing-room environment when he was younger and less experienced.
“We signed a lot of people in January and because some of them are foreign, their natural instinct is probably to be a bit quieter because it’s not their first language,” he said. “We’ve also got a lot of young boys, so it’s natural for them to be quiet and keep themselves to themselves. Aaron [Hughes] has been injured as well and he’s got great experience, so we’ve missed him. Prince [Buaben] was injured as well – it’s great to have him back because he’s another who is vocal.
“It’s something the other boys will get in years to come – it’s just something that comes with experience. I’m not going to deny, probably eight to ten years ago, I was just a quiet boy from the Highlands, but you’ve got to put yourself forward, and it’s something I’ve managed to do in the last few years. When I moved to England, I got told I needed to speak more. It doesn’t come naturally to me but, if you just work at it, eventually you get used to your own voice and speaking in front of everyone. I’m sure as their careers go on, the boys will get better and better at it. It’s just part of growing up – it’s just something you’ve got to do or you’ll get left behind.”