Euan Henderson craving goalscoring chance after talks with Hearts management
Euan Henderson declared a desire for more game time during recent talks with Hearts management. Now he must justify any first-team opportunities.
A 21-minute substitute outing on Wednesday night was his first senior appearance this season. It ended ignominiously as the Edinburgh club exited the Premier Sports Cup against Kilmarnock at Tynecastle Park.
The 22-year-old forward scored 17 goals in 29 matches on loan at League One Alloa Athletic last term and feels a more developed and mature player. He wants the chance to prove he can ripple netting in the Premiership, and Europe if possible, back at his parent club.
Discussions with manager Robbie Neilson offered some incentive. “I did go to him and say: ‘I was on loan last season, I played quite a lot of games so I’d like to keep playing games,’” revealed Henderson.
“He just said: ‘Be patient and you will get chances.’ I got one on Wednesday so hopefully I can keep proving he should give me more. It’s up to me to train well, then come on and do well in games.
“I’ve definitely matured. I scored 17 in 29 at Alloa so I feel more comfortable in front of goal. I’m more comfortable on the ball and I really feel, since last season, I’ve gone up a level in maturity and playing the game. I’m feeling good right now.
“Wednesday was my first appearance. I had a wee setback with a shin problem so I’ve only been back a few days. It was pretty rubbish on Wednesday. I tried to come on and freshen things up but the game was flat.
“I have to believe in myself that I will take the chance when I come on. I haven’t had a lot of chances so I need to take things as they come.”
With last season’s top goalscorer, Liam Boyce, out for months with a cruciate ligament injury, a void is there for Henderson and others. “If the manager gives me a chance up front then I’ll try to take it. Obviously, it’s up to him to play me. I’ll try to take any chance I get, use my pace and get in behind to score goals for the team.
“It would definitely help me if I could get a goal. Again, the more minutes you play, the more chances you get. I believe in myself that I can score goals if I get more games. I’m not worried about that because I can score goals. I proved that last season.
“It’s easier when you are playing consecutive games. You are more relaxed. You start the game and feel your way in, but coming on as a sub you have to get up to speed really quickly.”
First-choice centre-forward Lawrence Shankland has offered the burgeoning Henderson advice. “He tells me not to beat myself up if I miss a chance in training. I like to set myself high standards. If you miss a chance, it’s better just to erase it from memory. You can’t dwell because the next one might come right away.
“We have a lot of injuries but hopefully some boys are back against Livingston on Saturday. I’ll be ready if I need to come on to get a goal. We need to bounce back after the cup defeat.”