New boy Adam Eckersley revealed he turned down offers from Scottish Premiership clubs in order to join Hearts.
The 28-year-old former Manchester United left-back has signed on at Tynecastle until the end of the season after impressing during a week-long trial at Riccarton.
He said: “It was an easy decision for me. I had options to go the Premiership. But I knew Hearts were one of the biggest clubs in Scotland so it was a no-brainer.
“So even the interest from the clubs in the Premiership didn’t affect my decision to come here.
“When I first came in I heard people saying there was more focus on the Championship this season. I took it on board and listened to them, but it was more the size of the club and the focus on Hearts that attracted me.”
Eckersley has spent the previous six years in Denmark with Horsens and then Aarhus. Although he enjoyed life in a new country, he began to hanker for the chance to play in a more high-profile environment where his impressive form would receive greater recognition. He said: “I played a lot of good games in Denmark and built up a reputation over there. But part of me was missing England and the attention you get in England because you are a little bit out of the way over there.
“I think my game is ready now, it has improved enough, and I think I am at a stage where I feel I can make a big impact here.”
Eckersley has a chance of being in the squad for today’s Championship encounter with Raith Rovers, although he is still some way short of full match fitness. Nonetheless, he has made a big impression on the training ground over the past week, with his big voice and air of confidence marking him out as an obvious leader in a young Hearts squad.
He added: “I would like to think I’ve learnt lessons from my time at Manchester United.
“I like to impose myself and I would like to take what I’ve seen and impose myself on some of the young lads here because we have a very young team.
“When I’ve been training over the last week, it’s a little bit quiet. Even though I’m the new guy, I feel I have the responsibility to do the talking in the training and get the young lads up.”