Hearts reveal early World Cup break plan, but Craig Halkett and Stephen Kingsley not included

Most of the Hearts first-team squad have been given two weeks off, but Robbie Neilson has revealed that some players will continue to report to Riccarton as the World Cup break begins.

Captain Craig Gordon is on international duty with Scotland in Turkey this week, while Australian international trio Kye Rowles, Cammy Devlin and Nathaniel Atkinson have flown to Qatar to prepare for the World Cup.

But Craig Halkett and Stephen Kingsley, who have just recovered from hamstring injuries, will continue training to build up their fitness along with some of the younger fringe players. But after 24 competitive games in 105 days, the players who have had the busiest schedule since the season began on July 30 have been given time off to recharge their batteries.

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“It’s not everyone,” Neilson told the Edinburgh Evening News. “The likes of Halkett, Kingsley and some of the younger ones will be in. There is a group of probably ten or 12 that will get two weeks off. But within that they will still have programmes that they will do before we get back at it.”

Craig Halkett and Stephen Kingsley will continue training at Riccarton while the bulk of the squad enjoy two weeks off. Picture: Paul Devlin / SNS

The manager will allow himself a day or two here and there, but is not taking any prolonged break over the next fortnight. With a winter training camp in southern Spain to prepare for in the first week of December, a transfer window coming up and the fitness of some players to monitor, his in-tray is still full.

“I’ll be in and out,” Neilson added. “I won’t have training or games to prep, but I’m not going anywhere.”