Kye Rowles reveals weaknesses in his game he wants to improve and dream for next season

In half a year Kye Rowles’ career trajectory has shot up at a supersonic speed and shows little sign of slowing down after he agreed a new five-year contract with Hearts earlier this week.
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Despite only joining in the summer, Rowles was rewarded for his excellent play in maroon – not to mention his thoroughly impressive showing at the World Cup in Qatar – with an extension which could keep him at Tynecastle until 2028 unless someone else comes in with a very large pot of cash to purchase his services.

Making the decision to move away from home to the other side of the world, even if it is in aid of chasing a dream, can never be easy, but it couldn’t have gone any better for Rowles. He’s delighted with his new base and the ability to call it home for the foreseeable future.

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"Yeah I’m ecstatic. I haven’t been here very long so for both parties to commit to something that long is pretty special. It gives me confidence and belief the club really wants me here and I’m just going to repay the faith by giving it my all,” he said.

Hearts defender Kye Rowles signed a new five-year contract with the club earlier this week. Picture: SNSHearts defender Kye Rowles signed a new five-year contract with the club earlier this week. Picture: SNS
Hearts defender Kye Rowles signed a new five-year contract with the club earlier this week. Picture: SNS

“It was pretty straightforward. I knew what I wanted and the club has been good and that’s why we’ve come to an agreement so easily. It’s really good to not have any worries about the future.

“This whole wild run started when I debuted for the national team back in June. Since then it’s been kind of a blur. From time to time I reflect on what’s happened but at the same time it’s happening all so quickly and I’m trying to focus on the next step and the next game.

“The last six months have been the It’s pretty crazy but I don’t want to stop the momentum anytime soon and keep it going.”

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Rowles’ new contract comes after back-to-back games in which he faced Curtis Main, one of his toughest assignments to date. The St Mirren striker may not be the most regular of goalscorers, but his physical attributes make it hard for any defender, particularly one who, by his own admission, is still getting to grips with that side of the game following his switch from Central Coast Mariners in Australia’s top league.

Kye Rowles played in both games against Zurich in the Europa League play-offs but missed the six games in the Conference League due to injury. Picture: SNSKye Rowles played in both games against Zurich in the Europa League play-offs but missed the six games in the Conference League due to injury. Picture: SNS
Kye Rowles played in both games against Zurich in the Europa League play-offs but missed the six games in the Conference League due to injury. Picture: SNS

"I’d say the aerial duels have been a lot tougher over here than they are back home. The boys over here are built a bit differently, the boys up top are pretty thick and all good in the air. So, that side of the game has been pretty difficult,” he said.

"The weather over here allows you to do so much more pressing and running as well, so the speed of the game is higher. Back home, we play in the summer so it’s like 30 degrees and you just can’t commit the same physical output as what you can here. feel like that side of it I’ve got to grips with, but the aerial side and a few of the challenges is different.

“Hopefully in a few months it’ll all be sorted, I’ll put on a bit of beef and see what happens. It’s a bit of getting used to it and getting my frame a bit bigger. I’m a bit of a stick figure but you don’t really need to use it as much at home.

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“It sounds strange but the injury did help me in that regard, because I managed to get in the gym for weeks and put on as much as possible. When you’re playing three games a week it’s just hard to get into the gym and really push yourself. So once we get to one game a week I’ll get back in and try to beef up again.

Kye Rowles moved to Hearts in the summer from Central Coast Mariners in Australia's A-League. Picture: GettyKye Rowles moved to Hearts in the summer from Central Coast Mariners in Australia's A-League. Picture: Getty
Kye Rowles moved to Hearts in the summer from Central Coast Mariners in Australia's A-League. Picture: Getty

“Obviously when you play in a different league, everyone’s got different strengths and that’s one of them over here. I’m getting used to that physical tussle. But I do love it, to be honest, and it’s just about keeping learning and getting better.

“Positioning and awareness and timing as well is massive. One of the Aussies who did it the best in his career was probably Timmy Cahill. He wasn’t the biggest boy either but his timing when he was jumping for headers was second to none and he was in the right spot and knew when to meet the ball.

“Halks [Craig Halkett] and [Stephen] Kingsley here as solid in the air as well and I try to learn off them as much as possible, whether it’s giving somebody a bump before they jump or things like that; giving yourself an extra yard so you get a bit more of a run up. Hopefully I get better at those things and become a more complete player.

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“The players over here are a bit more street-smart in that regard. Any little advantage you can gain, whether it’s legal or illegal, is being used."

Though it’s been a hugely positive experience for Rowles overall, there were the two months he was forced to sit out after breaking his metatarsal scoring his maiden goal for the club against St Johnstone in late August. It meant he was forced to watch from the stands as Hearts played six games in the Europa Conference League. But all that’s done is given him the hunger to help make sure Hearts make it to the same level, or even better, next term.

"It was killing me because you just want to be out with the boys on the biggest stage,” he said. “They did extremely well, especially considering the positions some of the boys had to play as they were shuffled around everywhere. I just want to get back out there with them, give Europe a proper crack and try to get out of the group or into the Europa League next year. I think that would be a pretty special moment for everyone involved.”

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