Mihai Popescu told to be ready for Hearts chance as Romanian waits to play

Mihai Popescu is waiting for a chance in the Hearts first team.Mihai Popescu is waiting for a chance in the Hearts first team.
Mihai Popescu is waiting for a chance in the Hearts first team.
Romanian defender Mihai Popescu has been told to stay patient as he awaits a first-team chance at Hearts.

He hasn’t started a league game since November 20 with Craig Halkett and Christophe Berra the preferred centre-back partnership for now.

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson has advised Popescu to be ready when an opportunity arises and is confident that the 27-year-old is comfortable with the situation.

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“Christophe and Halkett paired up together and I think they've done well,” Neilson told the Evening News. “Christophe gives you that physicality at the back so Mihai just needs to wait for his chance.

“If somebody gets injured, then he's in and he gets an opportunity. It was the same with Christophe at the start of the season. He had to wait and wait and eventually he got in.

“Mihai understands the situation. It's just part and parcel of being a centre-back. He's at a good club, he's got his girlfriend with him in Scotland, he enjoys it and he just needs to wait his time.

“Centre-backs are players you want to build a relationship between. You don't want to be chopping and changing all the time. Mihai just needs to wait until he gets in the team and then make sure he stays in.”

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Popescu left Dinamo Bucharest last September to sign a two-year contract at Tynecastle Park. He started the season as Halkett’s partner but dropped out of the team once Berra recovered from injury.

He has made 12 appearances in all competitions so far this season.

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