'I don't care what people say' - Hearts ace Christophe Berra on age, Daniel Stendel and impressing Robbie Neilson
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Christophe Berra is aiming to show that he can still “play at a good level” for Hearts as he opened up on leaving the club to join Dundee on loan in January.
The centre-back was one of the players jettisoned by Daniel Stendel as the German aimed to tweak the team in his mould during the winter break.
Steven Naismith took over the captaincy with Berra told to train with the reserves before the move to Dens Park came about.
The centre-back impressed at Dundee, helping James McPake’s side improve in the league.
"I'm not daft, you see reports in papers, it happens to a lot of players,” he told The Nine about being dropped and training with the reserves. “It is part and parcel of football.
“I could understand if I was a bad egg but I wasn't. I was happy to stay and fight for my place but the manager came in and you've got to respect him. That's what he wanted to do and I went to Dundee.
"I look back now and it was a great thing for me. I played six games, undefeated, five clean sheets. I went there and enjoyed my football. I was happy to be playing.
He added: “I just want to play as many games as possible, I know I can still play at a good level. I don't care what people say, age this and that, if you are learning every day, putting in a shift, turning in performances you can play beyond your years, I don't see I'm any different.”
Turn up, train, give the utmost
Berra is now concentrating on impressing new boss – and former team-mate – Robbie Neilson as much as possible during a lengthy pre-season before the team return to competitive action in October, showing he still has plenty to offer.
The 35-year-old will face competition from John Souttar and Craig Halkett, as well as from teenage defender Chris Hamilton.
He said: “I'll just turn up, train like I do, like I have done for the last 18 years. I'll give my best, do my utmost in training.
"When it comes to that first game of the season and if the manager decides to pick me that's great.
Always show a good attitude and willingness to learn, no matter what age you are. I've done that throughout my career, there's no guarantees in football. I don't care who you are, you need to perform first and foremost."