Callum Paterson has told Hearts manager Gary Locke he wants to play right-back from now on because he sees his long-term future in defence.
The 19-year-old held talks with Locke and his assistant Billy Brown last week and made it clear right-back is his preferred position.
He started there in the 2-1 defeat by Dundee United on Friday night before being moved up front for the closing stages as Hearts chased an equaliser. However, he wants to cement a regular place in defence after deciding he performs best in that area.
Paterson has played a variety of positions since breaking into Hearts’ senior side almost two years ago under John McGlynn. He has performed at right-back, right-midfield, centre-midfield, right-wing and centre-forward.
He has now stressed to senior management that he wants the opportunity to carve out a niche for himself at right-back. “Callum says that’s where he wants to play so we’ll look at that,” said Locke today.
“Right-back has been a problem position for us because we feel we need the bit of steel Jamie Hamill gives us in the middle of the pitch. He’s another one who could play right-back but that area has been a problem for us for most of the season.
“We lost four goals in two games before Friday night so we worked hard on the back four in training. I spoke to Callum because one thing I don’t like doing is shifting people all over the place. Callum feels his best position is right-back so I had a wee chat with him, and Billy Brown spoke to him as well. I think Callum sees his future at right-back.
“Because we started the season with no recognised strikers, we had to play him up there. I thought he did okay on Friday night.
“The great thing about him is he can play one or two other positions so we threw him up front near the end to try and get an equaliser.”