Hearts have asked the Canadian Soccer Association not to select full-back Marcus Godinho this summer to help him recover fully from a season-ending knee injury.
The 20-year-old is suffering recurring pain in his meniscus and is unlikely to play in Hearts’ final three league games. Canada, though, plan to name him in their Under-21 squad for the Toulon Tournament later this month.
Craig Levein, the Hearts manager, has contacted Canada Soccer officials to request Godinho be left out to rest. The defender made his senior international debut in March but hasn’t played or trained since he was forced off during Hearts’ defeat by Rangers at Ibrox ten days ago.
“I think he might miss the rest of the season and I’ve requested he doesn’t go away with Canada either. This knee has flared up again,” Levein told the Evening News. “He gets a few weeks out of it and then he’s sore for a while and we have to rest him. This cycle has been going on for a while so we’d like him to have a complete rest.
“I doubt very much whether we’ll see him before the end of the season, unless it somehow clears up completely in the next week or so.”
Godinho has already overcome two injury setbacks in the same area since joining Hearts in summer 2016. He made his first-team debut against Motherwell in March and impressed in six senior outings so far.
However, he is now beset by injury again. Hearts are convinced he should be given time to recuperate during the close season unless there is a miraculous recovery over the next few days.
“He has had two surgeries on his knee,” explained Levein.
“One was to remove a fair chunk of the meniscus, the other was a procedure to encourage more meniscus growth. It’s a difficult operation because it’s a really awkward area to get to.
“I feel for the boy because he’s a good player and I feel he’s continually being frustrated. If the fluid leaves his knee, he might be involved before the summer, but I doubt it.”