The stats which reveal Hearts and Craig Levein's faith in young talent

Focus on young players continues to be a key strategy at Hearts.

Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 4:55 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 5:17 pm
Craig Levein has made Ryotaro Meshino and Aaron Hickey key members of their first team. Picture: SNS

Since Ann Budge took over the club in 2014 and brought Craig Levein on board as director of football the restructuring of the youth department has been a key element of their work to transform the Tynecastle side.

Now manager, Levein has been keen to promote young talent and give them a chance in the first team.

It has continued this season with the likes of Aaron Hickey and Andy Irving.

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Only Hamilton Academical have awarded more minutes in the Scottish Premiership to under-23 players than Hearts, as per research from Colin Cunningham.

When it comes to under-21 players, only Motherwell players have collected more minutes than the Tynecastle side.

Aaron Hickey, the club's 17-year-old defender, has played more than 650 minutes this campaign, with Irving, Ryotaro Meshino, Callumn Morrison and Jamie Brandon all featuring.

Two players fans may forget are still young are Sean Clare and Jake Mulraney who have been two regulars with a high proportion of minutes.

Rivals Hibs have not given many minutes to U21 players, with individuals in the age bracket amassing just 699, only Rangers and Livingston have given fewer minutes.

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