Hearts youngsters must be ready to meet demands of 'harsh but fair' Tynecastle fans

Steven Naismith is aiming to develop youngsters capable of coping with the demands of playing for Hearts after taking up his new coaching role.

Sunday, 20th June 2021, 3:42 pm
Updated Sunday, 20th June 2021, 4:03 pm
Steven Naismith has taken up a new coaching role at Hearts after hanging up his boots. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)
Steven Naismith has taken up a new coaching role at Hearts after hanging up his boots. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)

The former club captain has been given the new title of Football Development Manager following the decision to call time on his playing career at the age of 34, and will work closely with Robbie Neilson to help academy graduates transition to senior football.

Naismith believes the Tynecastle outfit has a number of talented players on the fringes of the first team and is keen to address recent failings to help them realise their potential.

Speaking to Hearts TV about his new role, Naismith said: "I'm really enthusiastic about it.

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"The biggest thing is that there are a lot of players here who have more ability than I had when I was 18, 19, 20.

"It's now just for them to believe it and do the hard work after it. Don't just train, have lunch, a wee gym session then up the road. It's about spending the extra hours here that all the other pros aren't doing. That's the bit that will make them better and give them a good career.

"In recent years these guys have been lost or maybe went out on loans, but they've not had as much attention as they've needed. That's in all aspects from technical, game management and mentally how to make it. The demands at this club are big because the expectations are there.

"It's about getting these guys ready. Even in my time here, there's been that many young players come through into the first team, in my opinion, when they've not been ready. Long term it's not good for the player or the club so we need to get players who, when they go into the first team, they make an impact."

On his decision to take up his first full-time coaching role at Hearts, Naismith added: "I love it here, the facilities are great, and the players have got a great opportunity. But there's a demand there and that's the biggest thing we need to get across.

"The fans are harsh but fair. They will back you to the hilt if they see that you're working hard and there's a progression and we've got to do that as a squad."

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