GARY LOCKE today challenged Adam King to seize his moment in the Hearts midfield with Jason Holt out injured until next year. The 18-year-old produced a confident display in last night’s friendly against Wolfsburg and could appear more regularly at first-team level if he impresses in Holt’s absence.
Holt suffered a broken metatarsal in training on Tuesday and will now be sidelined for six to ten weeks. Following last night’s 0-0 draw against the German club in a fundraising friendly at Tynecastle, Locke laid down the gauntlet for King, the younger brother of Hearts winger Billy.
“With Holt being injured now, we’re one man short in the midfield. Adam has come in and done well last night and he can push for a place in the team,” the manager told the Evening News.
“I thought Adam played well. He’s done well in the under-20s, playing centre midfield and right-back, but that experience last night will be great for him. He showed he can come in and apply himself at that level.
“I go and watch the under-20s all the time and I’ve had Adam in every matchday squad this season. I felt the time was right for him to start a game. He’s been on the bench a couple of times and it would have been a boost for him to get a run last night. I thought he acquitted himself well.”
Hearts refused a five-figure offer from Swansea City for King before the summer transfer window closed. Locke believes the Scotland youth internationalist can have a bright future at Tynecastle.
“Swansea didn’t match the kind of money we think Adam is worth. There is a development fee to be paid as well,” he explained. “Sometimes speculation can turn a young lad’s head, but Adam has worked hard and he certainly deserved to play last night. He’s a really good lad. He and Billy are two very level-headed brothers and great boys to work with.”
Angus Beith, 17, and 19-year-old goalkeeper Jack Hamilton, received their first taste of first-team football last night. “I put Angus on, but he only joined us professionally in the summer. He’s done really well,” said Locke.
“I was delighted for Jack as well because he is another one who is improving all the time. It was a good experience for them and I felt it was important for them all to get on the pitch. It will certainly give them all a boost.”