Lawrence Shankland addresses Hearts transfer speculation and the position he's 'more than comfortable' with

Hearts striker Lawrence Shankland has been nominated for PFA Scotland Player of the Year.Hearts striker Lawrence Shankland has been nominated for PFA Scotland Player of the Year.
Hearts striker Lawrence Shankland has been nominated for PFA Scotland Player of the Year. | Jeff Holmes
Hearts’ talisman has been linked with transfer moves away from Tynecastle.

Lawrence Shankland is flattered by speculation - but he’s satisfied with where he’s at with Hearts.

The striker has been nominated for PFA Scotland Player of the Year after a stunning campaign at Tynecastle, where he is closing in on 30 goals across all competitions. Transfer speculation was rife in January and it will undoubtedly crop up again this summer, with Shankland hopeful of participation at Euro 2024 with Scotland.

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There is a year left to go on his Hearts contract that was signed during summer 2022 and the 28-year-old knows any club who wants to sign him will have to do so with the here and now in mind. He’s relaxed with the situation, as he knows what the rumour mill is all about.

Shankland said as he was nominated for the POTY award: “It’s part of the game, the transfer market’s there for everybody to get excited and talk, I just leave it at that. It’s just outside noise and I leave it that.

“It doesn’t affect me at all until someone comes knocking on my door and says, ‘This is the position you’re in’. Until that point I don't take any interest in it. I suppose it’s flattering, it’s a bit of recognition that you’re doing your job and that’s all I see it as.

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“Most of what there is is just talk. But we’ll see what happens, I’ve a year left on my contract at Hearts. We’ll see if there’s a decision to be made in the summer.

“There’s no guarantees in football that someone’s going to say ‘right we’re signing you’. It doesn’t work like that. I’m aware at the age I am that some clubs don’t want to sign older players because there’s no real sell-on value, so it’ll need to someone who would want to sign me for the here and now that would be signing me. If nothing happens, I’m more than comfortable with the position and the club are the same.”

The striker is the leading man for Hearts, wearing the captain’s armband this season. He welcomes the pressure that comes with that, and while he has displayed that there’s more to his game than goals, it’s not come through any major changes.

Shankland said: "I am in a position now where if Hearts don't play well and Hearts get beat, it's my fault. That is the pressure that comes with and that is the other side of it when you are relishing that pressure, you score big goals and that is the pressure it brings. You need to enjoy that and it is a good position to be in.

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“At Hearts I have an opportunity to play for a good team in the top league and that has helped. The recognition comes with that, you get a bit more exposure playing for a big club. I do feel my game has improved but I think that is more a maturity of getting older, understanding the game.

“I think maybe my time in Belgium helped that as well, playing out of position helped me recognise what you want off a striker. Where you want your striker and that probably helped my all-round position.

“I think as a team the biggest thing was that as a team, we finished third or above. That was our objective and we are pretty close to that. I think the change of manager, we have settled our team and ways of playing.

“The boys have bought into and been good at putting plans together for the games. I have not changed too much to be honest, I just look to keep going."

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Personal recognition is something Shankland is privileged to have, after missing out last season. With Scotland matches of the highest importance drawing closer, he is keen to score more goals before the end of May to ensure his flight to Germany is secure.

Shankland added: "It's good. It's a nice bit of recognition for the good season I have had and it has obviously been noticed outwith our club so it's good.

"It's been good, pretty similar to last season to be honest. I missed out on the nominations last year so I just had to get myself in there this year and thankfully I have.

"First and foremost you want involved so hopefully I keep my form going until the end of the season and grab another couple of goals to make sure I am involved. The starting takes care of itself, there is a really strong squad there. Che Adams and Lyndon Dykes have hit a bit of form recently so it's a good thing we have three strikers firing and it will be good competition."

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