Sean Clare has vowed to excite supporters after signing a three-year deal with Hearts. The 21-year-old attacking midfielder today became the Tynecastle club’s 18th signing of the summer after joining as a free agent following his decision to decline the offer of a new contract at previous club Sheffield Wednesday.
Clare had been the subject of reported interest from Everton, Tottenham Hotspur, Leeds United, Aston Villa and Rangers, but the highly-regarded Londoner has decided to continue his career in Edinburgh in what is viewed as a major coup for Hearts.
Craig Levein has been tracking Clare for some time and the manager explained after Saturday’s win over Motherwell that he was hugely excited at the prospect of adding the attacking midfielder to his high-flying squad. Clare, who was at Fir Park to see his new team move five points clear at the top of the Premiership, intends to wow the Hearts support.
“I’m athletic, energetic, I love being on the ball and I love to dribble but moving it quick when I need to,” he said. “Goals, assists .... someone who’s quite exciting for the fans to watch, I feel.
“It can be quite fun to watch me when I’m in full flow, but I’m also someone who will always give 100 per cent and has passion to win games, win trophies, win leagues and give everything for the team, the fans and the people managing me. The manager and Austin (MacPhee) see me making a big difference in the team, going forward with my speed and strength. I’ll probably be worked in as an attacking player, off the front.”
Hearts are currently well stocked with midfielders and sit five points clear at the top of the Premiership after winning each of their opening five matches. Clare knows he faces a fight to get into the starting XI.
“I need to force my way in,” he said. “The team’s flying at the moment so I’ve got a lot of hard work to do to get in. Once I’m in I’ve got to stay in. It’s a challenge I relish. I’d rather be in this situation, fighting to get into a team that’s doing well rather than one that’s not doing well. It means you’re playing in a good team and once you get in, you’ll be playing with good players.”
Clare joined Wednesday in 2016 but most of his 44 first-team appearances to date have come during loan spells with Bury, Accrington Stanley and Gillingham. He played 26 times in a fruitful stint with the Gills in the first half of last season before Wednesday recalled him and gave him his debut in January. He started five Championship matches for the Yorkshire side before having his campaign prematurely ended by an ankle injury sustained in March. Clare underwent surgery at the end of last season but declared himself fully fit for the start of his Hearts career.
“I made sure I did the best possible rehab down in London and I feel fitter and stronger than I’ve ever been,” he said. “I just can’t wait to get on the pitch.”