Jason Holt admits he harbours ambitions of moving to England one day, but the highly-rated midfielder is adamant he is in no rush to leave Hearts.
The 20-year-old has been the subject of interest from Nottingham Forest this summer, with the East Midlands club’s manager, Billy Davies, at Sunday’s Edinburgh derby as he ponders lodging another offer.
Holt’s stock is set to rise further if he appears for Scotland Under-21s against their England counterparts, who will be managed by Roy Hodgson, at Bramall Lane tonight.
When asked if the prospect of moving south held appeal, Holt said: “I think so. Everyone knows how good the leagues are down in England. One day I think any player would like to play in England at one point. We all know it is a massive league.”
Holt insists he hasn’t let speculation surrounding his future affect him. He said: “I just need to concentrate on matters on the park and that’s what I’ve been doing. I can only do my job.”
For now, Holt’s main focus is helping Hearts wipe out the negative 15-point tally with which they began the Scottish Premiership season as punishment for entering administration in June.
The Jambos reduced the deficit by three points with a rousing 1-0 victory over Hibs at the weekend and Holt hopes they can now build momentum.
Holt said: “We’re delighted with the result against Hibs – it doesn’t come much better than that, a derby win. Just to repay the fans for all the hard work they have put in, and the club as a whole, we’re all delighted.
“I’m a Hearts fan and to win with a team full of players under 21 made it even better. Hopefully this can kickstart the season. We all know it is going to be a challenge but all the players are up for that challenge.”
Holt and five of his Hearts team-mates – Jack Hamilton, David Smith, Jamie Walker, Brad McKay and Kevin McHattie – will be hoping to build on the high of the weekend by helping Scotland Under-21s beat England in front of more than 25,000 people in Sheffield tonight.
With a trip to the Netherlands next month, that experience could be useful for the Scots.
Holt said: “All the boys are buzzing for the game. It doesn’t get much bigger, going from Hearts v Hibs to England v Scotland. They are two huge games and I’m looking forward to it. If we can get a result against the English it will have been a great week for me.”
Meanwhile, Ryan Stevenson, the old head of Hearts’ threadbare young squad, is set to be out for between two and three months after it was confirmed yesterday that he suffered medial ligament damage.
The 28-year-old limped off early in Sunday’s Edinburgh derby, and it was initally feared he might have sustained cruciate damage.
Gary Locke, the Hearts manager, said: “It’s a bit of a blow for us to be honest as he’s one of our most experienced players. He’ll be in a brace for five-and-a-half weeks but the good news is he hasn’t damaged his cruciate, so from that perspective it could have been worse.
“Nevertheless, it is still really disappointing given the depth of squad we have at our disposal at the moment and our focus will be on getting him back fit as soon as we can.”