Marcus Godinho is taking inspiration from his friend and predecessor as Hearts’ right back as he tries to become a success with club and country.
Callum Paterson emerged from Hearts’ academy as a 17-year-old in 2012 and went on to establish himself as the first-choice right-back at Tynecastle before forcing his way into the Scotland squad and then landing a big move last summer to Cardiff City, where he is currently flourishing.
Godinho and Paterson struck up a close bond last season as they spent several months together recovering from serious injuries. Paterson, now 23, used to help the young Canadian through his difficult days in the treatment room and would also drive him to training at a time when he was barely able to walk.
Godinho now aims to follow in the burgeoning Scot’s footsteps as he looks to establish himself as a right-back of substance for Hearts and Canada.
“Callum is a massive inspiration,” said the Toronto boy. “I absolutely love the guy, he is brilliant on and off the pitch. He’s hilarious – loud but really caring, too. He used to pick me up every morning for training when I was on crutches just so that I wouldn’t need to take the bus, which was a really nice gesture. He was really good to me. I still speak to him from time to time.
“To see him doing so well gives me the belief that I can do the same, especially as someone who came through the ranks at Hearts and endured so many injuries as well. If he can do it, then I believe I can as well.”
Paterson, pictured, set himself apart as a right-back in Scotland because of the remarkable goal threat he possessed. Godinho isn’t making any bold promises about being able to emulate his old team-mate in the scoring stakes, but he does feel he can make an impact in the attacking third – as he showed by setting up Ross Callachan’s goal at Dundee last Sunday.
“I feel like I haven’t really been a threat to score from my position so far,” said Godinho. “But since I’ve been in the first team, I think I’ve been getting higher and getting more opportunity to threaten. That is something I’m going to think about and focus on more, because if Im scoring goals from there then people will really start looking at me and taking me seriously. I score the odd goal here and there but not as much as I’d like to. I’m more of a playmaker and get more assists, but it’s something I’ll try to add to my game.”
Godinho is one of three young Canadians at Hearts, with attacker Dario Zanatta – currently on loan at Raith Rovers, where he has scored six goals – already having had a taste of the first team and midfielder Harry Paton impressing on loan at Stenhousemuir, where he has also scored six times.
“Especially when I first moved here, and didn’t know anyone, it was good to have them around,” said of his compatriots. “We are always there for each other if we need to talk or are feeling frustrated. We hang out together and it feels like I’m not away from home with them there. We all have the same drive and goal, to play for the full Canada team and hopefully they get that opportunity too. That would be special.”
Godinho made his debut for Canada against New Zealand a fortnight ago and continued his run in the Hearts side by making his fourth consecutive start against Dundee. He was feeling the effects of a groin strain at Dens Park but, after being forced to wait more than a year and a half to force his way into the Hearts team, he wasn’t about to let a bit of niggle force him into submission. “Since the Canada game, it has been bothering me, but I’ll get through it,” he said. “It was tough getting though it in the Dundee game – but I’m not about to give up my spot now!”