Robbie Neilson message to Aaron McEneff as Hearts boss explains what he wants from his players

Hearts boss Robbie Neilson says players need to be “ready” for when an opportunity presents itself in the team.

Aaron McEneff has stiff competition for a place in the Hearts midfield. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)
Aaron McEneff has stiff competition for a place in the Hearts midfield. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

Aaron McEneff emerged from the bench during the team's 2-1 win over St Mirren on Saturday for his fourth appearances of the season.

The Irishman hasn't started a game since the first Premier Sports Cup clash with Peterhead in the middle of July.

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In addition, Hearts have signed Beni Baningime from Everton and are closing in on adding Cameron Devlin, increasing competition in the midfield area.

McEneff had a positive impact against the Buddies, displaying the qualities which saw Hearts part with a six-figure fee to sign him from Shamrock Rovers earlier this year.

The 26-year-old nearly scored a fantastic goal from outside the box, while providing the team with thrust.

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"Aaron’s coming in and he’s at a club where there’s competition for places,” Neilson told the Evening News.

"You have to be ready to come in and he did exactly what we were looking for. Aggressive going forward, driving forward, having shots at goal. That’s what we brought him to the club to do.

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"You’ve got Beni in there, Haring in there, Pollock in there. We’ve got a number of players that can play in there.

"When you get the opportunity to come in you’ve got to go and show it and to be fair he did that on Saturday.”

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McEneff offers Neilson variety with his positioning, capable of playing different midfield roles, while also being able to perform a wing-back role.

It is something the Hearts boss is keen for all of his players to offer, allowing him to be able to make tactical and positional tweaks.

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Neilson offered Liam Boyce and his role against St Mirren as an example.

“Aaron can play as a No.6, No.8 and he can play as a No.10 a bit further forward and he can play as wing-back so I’m trying to get them all to do that,” he said.

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"Boycie played the no.9, a wide No.10, left of a three in midfield then went back up top.

"It’s important we keep battering away with the system, players will play in different areas and they will get used to it.”

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