Hearts reveal plan to develop more youths at first-team level
Youth players at Hearts will get more first-team opportunities once the club is re-established in the top half of the Premiership.
Coaching staff are aware that developing academy kids into senior professionals is an important part of their remit. They intend to address the issue from next season onwards after earning promotion to Scotland’s top flight.
Game time for Riccarton academy graduates has been restricted this term, partly because Covid restrictions forced under-18 and reserve football into a prolonged shutdown. They also prevented players flitting in and out of the first-team squad’s biosecure ‘bubble’.
Midfielder Finlay Pollock made his senior debut at the age of 16 just last weekend in the 3-0 win against Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Others are expected to follow suit next term, with manager Robbie Neilson eager for more leadership to help nurture them.
“It's difficult to bring young players into a team that is losing or doesn't have leaders within the group,” he told the Evening News.
“We have some leaders here just now but we need to build on that by getting more and more. Once we are back in a position where we feel we belong, which is the upper echelons of the Premiership, then we will develop more young players.
“We want players who are here for the longer term as well. That also allows us to then bring the young players in.”
Midfielder Andy Irving and forward Euan Henderson were two recent academy graduates involved in Hearts’ first-team squad throughout this season in the Championship.