HEARTS have produced 65 international players in total through their Riccarton academy, as documented in a new feature on the Hearts Youth Development Committee website.
The HYDC has begun noting the international progress of young academy pupils on its “Roll of Honour” page. From Christophe Berra through to Ryan McGowan, every Hearts youngster who has represented his country at any level is given pride of place on the website.
Calum Robertson, chairman of the HYDC, explained that the success of Riccarton should not be solely measured by how many players reach the Hearts first team.
“Hearts are going to be bringing more and more youth through and there’s still a bit of cynicism about whether youth academies work or not,” he said.
“The academy at Riccarton has produced 65 players who have played international football at some level. In some cases it’s under-16s or under-17s, but a few have played at many levels. We feel that shows the academy system works.
“If an academy is run properly, it will help the country as well as the clubs. This is the case at any club.
“Hearts take players from abroad and Ryan McGowan is a perfect example of how an academy can work. He came here aged 16 and developed into a full internationalist. If you stick with the boys it will repay you because it’s about investment.
“If clubs do it properly they can reinvest in the future.
“Academies at times get a bad reputation within the juvenile side of youth football but this shows that we do develop boys. Once they get to a certain age, no matter how good your system is, you won’t have 11 players from one team becoming professionals. There will always only be a few. Hearts have promoted quite a lot recently even though some have been through necessity. The club currently has about 60 per cent of its players home-grown.
“We’re trying to highlight just how many players have come through our academy and been capped at different international levels. Even Danny Galbraith is in the roll of honour and he’s now at Hibs.
“We want to show that our academy does work. Despite the cynicism there is a place for youth academies if they’re run properly.”
The HYDC’s sole purpose is to help fund anything related to the youth teams who are based at Riccarton. “The committee is now raising more money than ever for the academy,” continued Robertson.
“We’ve just paid for another few players for John Murray. I wouldn’t say that’s our main drive because all we’re doing is paying compensation, which most recently was to Stenhousemuir for a couple of players.
“They are entitled to that compensation because that’s how the system should work. We got David Templeton from Stenhousemuir, remember.”
Visit www.hydc.co.uk/roll_of_honour to see the list of Riccarton pupils who have played international football.
n THE HYDC are holding their Annual Sports Brunch on Sunday, November 4, at Tynecastle’s Gorgie Suite. It will be hosted by Sky Sports’ Peter Martin with former referee Brian McGinlay a guest speaker. The Scottish Cup will also be in attendance for guests to have their photograph taken with the famous trophy. For tickets call 0131 200 7216 or email email@example.com