Demetri Mitchell today revealed how the Hearts manager Craig Levein has helped him become a more accomplished defender.
The left-back insisted he is now stronger one-against-one thanks to some technical advice from Levein at Riccarton.
Manchester United loaned Mitchell to Hearts for a second time in August and the player explained that he is thriving on the experience of regular first-team football. He is pushing to return to the Hearts starting line-up for Sunday’s Premiership match with Rangers at Tynecastle Park.
After receiving vital pointers from Levein in training, the 21-year-old feels he has improved the defensive side of his game this season. “I remember a training session not too long ago when Craig was helping me with my one-against-one defending. Literally instantly, it started to work. He gave me a few pointers and I felt it made a difference,” Mitchell told the Evening News.
“He told me to get my body in more and use my arms more when I’m defender. Also, he taught me to show the opponent down the line because I’m fast. If I show them down the line then it’s beneficial for me.
“This year, my one-versus-one defending has improved a lot. That’s also down to playing left-back so much.”
Mitchell thanked Levein for his support after a second loan deal was agreed. He spent the second half of last season in Edinburgh and was happy to return in August despite interest from several other clubs in England and Scotland.
“It’s almost a year from when I first came to Hearts in January until now,” said Mitchell. “The manager has shown faith in me from the word go and I have to try and repay that faith on the pitch.
“He is the first manager I’ve worked under at first-team level, so that’s a big thing is well.”