Kye Rowles tells Hearts he's staying at Tynecastle
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During discussions on his future, Rowles made it clear he has no intention of leaving Edinburgh having arrived only six months ago from Central Coast Mariners. He intends to develop further in Scotland and help Hearts push for European qualification again this season.
Club management are anticipating interest in the 24-year-old during the January transfer window following his sterling displays for the Socceroos in Qatar. Chief executive Andrew McKinlay stressed on Thursday that bids were not welcome and that it would take a “mind-boggling” offer for Hearts to even consider selling.
Neilson addressed the issue with Rowles in the past few days and received an unequivocal response. “He has done very well and the window is not open yet. Having spoken to Kye, he wants to stay here,” said the manager. “He wants to play for the club and he wants to develop further. He has had a quick turnaround since coming in during the summer and then getting to the World Cup and doing so well. He realises he still has a lot to do before he can move up again.
“It's very early in his career here and I expect him to be here for a good period longer, that's for sure. I thought he would do well [in Qatar]. He’s a really good defender, a good type, a good boy. When you see the calibre of teams he was playing against you knew it would be difficult, but I always thought he would do well so I’m pleased for him.”
Rowles has made just ten appearances for Hearts so far having suffered a broken foot back in August. With fellow defenders Craig Halkett and Stephen Kingsley also suffering injuries at different times, Neilson’s first-choice back three have barely played together.
“It’s 27 minutes, that’s all they’ve had together this season,” he said.” That’s the kind of three first-team centre-backs we looked at, Stephen, Halkett and Rowles. In the initial part of the season we only got 27 minutes of them together. That was disappointing but hopefully now they can get more. The more they play together the more they get to know each other.”
Rowles is suspended for Saturday’s Premiership match with Kilmarnock at Tynecastle, but both Halkett and Kingsley are available. “Stephen Humphrys is still out at the moment, as are Gary Mackay-Steven and Peter Haring,” said Neilson. “The rest are all back part from Beni Baningime and Liam Boyce, who will be a bit longer.”
Captain Craig Gordon is back having been given extra time off during the World Cup break. “Craig had the international with Scotland in Turkey last month and he basically trained through the summer with hardly any time off. We thought it was good to get him a wee bit of a break so he will come back reinvigorated as well.”
Neilson admitted he is wary of Kilmarnock’s threat. The Ayrshire side have won six and drawn one of their last seven visits to Tynecastle. They sit second bottom in the Premiership table. “It's still very tight because they are only six points behind us in the league. They are a strong, physical team with good energy, as Derek McInnes teams always have. I expect them to come out of that relegation area and be round about mid-table.”