Tony Watt must use his Hearts disappointment to finally realise his potential and become one of Scotland’s greatest ever footballing talents.
That’s the opinion of the Edinburgh club’s former striker John Robertson, who believes Watt can be one of the finest players ever produced in this country.
The 23-year-old was returned to parent club Charlton Athletic six months into his season-long loan at Tynecastle. He scored just once in seventeen appearances in maroon and Robertson – Hearts’ record league goalscorer – has advised him to work on being a team player.
“I am surprised and disappointed for both it did not work out,” said Robertson, who works at Hearts in a commercial role. “In the first few games he played, he showed the ability he has got is frightening. When he is on fire, he is unplayable. But I’ve told him he needs to play in areas where he can hurt teams. If anyone can into his head and get him focusing and playing football and understanding what he can bring to a game of football, then he can go on to be anything he wants to be. Remember he is still a young kid.
“Gordon Strachan has pulled him in [to the Scotland squad] recently and that shows you the talent he has got. He’s a big lad, he’s over 6ft, he’s got strength and ability and goals in him. But it’s at the stage where he and the people who know him need to sit him down and ask him if he knows what he has got – then go and show it.
“This kid could be anything he wants. He’s one of the best natural talents I’ve seen in Scotland. With a ball at his feet, he can do anything. It’s what he produces at the end of the day. Every manager in the game will see Tony’s ability and think: ‘I can get through to him.’ He’s a challenge but, if you get that challenge right, Tony Watt could be one of the best players Scotland has ever produced.”
Robertson is convinced Watt is hungry enough despite doubts over his application. “He says the right things and he does want to do it. I can only see it as a focus thing. In most jobs, if you want to get to the top and be the best, you need to focus on yourself and be selfish at times. You have to do that within the team because you have another ten team-mates.”