Hearts captain Craig Gordon identifies next step for John Souttar
Hearts captain Craig Gordon has identified John Souttar as a future skipper – no matter where his long-term future lies.
The 25-year-old’s recovery from three ruptured Achilles tendons strengthened his resolve and Gordon is convinced he has the qualities to lead a dressing room.
Souttar’s Hearts contract expires at the end of the season and, although the Edinburgh club want him to stay, he has several options in England.
“I don’t exactly know what the situation is, what the options are, what is on the table,” said Gordon. “I’m obviously not party to that. He will make a decision for what is right for him. I know he’s done tremendously well to get back from the injuries he’s had.
“The character he’s shown to perform so quickly at such a high level, it took him no time at all to get back in and start producing the performances and possibly even better than what he was before. That’s a huge achievement in itself.
“For him to show that and give as much as he has to get back, it shows he’s very determined to play at the highest level. I have nothing but admiration for what he’s done in managing to come back and I’m sure he’ll make the right decision for him.
“He is very positive and very upbeat all the time – a real good character in the changing room. I’m sure he will carry on. He is a good leader as well, I can definitely see him captaining teams in the future. For him to come through that, he can look to the future with positivity and I’m sure he’s going to be fine.”
Souttar scored on his international return earlier this month as Scotland beat Denmark 2-0.
“That was huge for him, a great performance and probably great for his confidence as well to know he stepped it up to international level and fitted into the team no problem. I think he was man of the match in one of the sponsors,” said Gordon.
“For him to get through all that, get back into the Hearts team and then step it back up to international level, where he had a couple of caps before and excel the way he did, that’s fantastic for him.
“It will give him the confidence that he is back better than ever and he can go now and really push forward. He works so hard off the pitch to make sure his injury problems are behind him and it’s really showing in his performances. He can move on and leave that part of his career behind and really look forward to the future.”
The keeper lost three years of his own career to injuries and knows the determination required to fight back.
“Probably in some ways we are quite similar characters,” he added. “John is a good player on the pitch. He’s got great strength, not only his defending but also the mentality he’s shown over the last couple of years. I think he’ll go from strength to strength from here.