Prince Buaben still has key role to play at Hearts – Neilson

Prince Buaben was unable to agree terms with Ross County

Prince Buaben was unable to agree terms with Ross County

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PRINCE BUABEN has been reassured that his Hearts future is not in jeopardy and that he remains a key player at Tynecastle.

Despite only starting one league match to date this season, the Ghanaian midfielder is considered an important part of the squad by head coach Robbie Neilson.

Ross County agreed a deal with Hearts to sign Buaben in August but failed to negotiate terms with the player. He has been an unused substitute in all three of the club’s matches since. Neilson today praised Buaben’s professionalism and attitude in training as he strives to regain a starting place.

The 28-year-old is contracted to Hearts until June 2018 and still has a major role to play, according to Neilson. “Ross County wanted to speak to him. I spoke to Prince and explained the situation here. He wasn’t really getting game time at the start of the season so he went to speak to them. I told him at the time that I wanted to keep him,” said the coach.

“I told him he’d be a key player for us this season and he’d play games. He might not play the amount of games he wants to play, and that’s why I gave him the opportunity to go and speak to Ross County.

“Either way, him staying is great for us. We still have a very good, experienced player here who will add a lot of value to the team. I’ve said to a lot of guys here, some who have stayed and some who have gone, that the most important thing is they’re happy here.

“If they want to go and speak to other teams because they aren’t getting the game time they want, I’m more than willing for them to do that. Prince went and spoke to Ross County and decided he wanted to be here and fight for his place. That’s where he is and that’s what I expect him to do.

“To be fair, I’ve been really impressed with him. His form in training has been different class. He’s working hard and, like a few others, he’s having to wait to get into the team. When they do get in, it’s important they hit the ground running.”