HEARTS have released 19-year-old centre-back Jake Hutchings after just five months at Tynecastle.
The Englishman arrived on a short-term deal in January after leaving Torquay United but has been told his contract won’t be renewed for next season.
Hutchings played at under-20 level for Hearts but coaching staff felt he could develop into a useful centre-back or holding midfielder. Head coach Robbie Neilson revealed today that he has let the player go because he needs to develop while playing first-team football and isn’t likely to do that with Hearts.
Hutchings is keen to stay in Scotland if possible and will listen to offers from any interested club. He initially joined Hearts on trial last August but had to return south after suffering an injury. He signed a short-term contract when he came back to Edinburgh in January but did not manage to force his way into Neilson’s senior squad.
“We aren’t going to extend Jake’s contract,” Neilson told the Evening News. “He did okay when he came in but, at his age, he needs to play first-team football and he isn’t going to play it with us. We brought him in during the winter hoping he would progress but I just feel that he’s turning 20 soon and he needs to go out and play.
“He’s keen to stay in Scotland so hopefully he can get something sorted out. He’s a good kid and a good player and he will get a team in Scotland, depending on what level he wants to stay at. We wish him all the best and if we can help him out, we will.”
Hearts have also released midfielder Scott Robinson, who is expected to join Kilmarnock, plus defender Adam Eckersley. Captain Danny Wilson and centre-back Brad McKay are leaving of their own accord, with McKay having signed a pre-contract agreement at St Johnstone. Striker Genero Zeefuik is back at Groningen after his loan spell ended.