Stephen Kinglsey explains Cammy Devlin's outstanding performance for Hearts in Europe
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The Australian midfielder, deployed in front of the back four with Jorge Grant more advanced in an attack-minded Hearts team set up by Robbie Neilson to have a go at the Swiss champions, produced a man-of-the-match display on a night when Hearts dominated possession for 45 minutes before being reduced to 10 men early in the second half.
“If you look at the first 45 minutes, I thought he was excellent,” said Kingsley. “Usually when we have a five there is a bit more fluidity in terms of rotations going forward as a centre-back. With a back four it is a bit more rigid.
“Cammy played in that sitting role to protect us and I thought he did it very well out of possession. I don’t know how many times he regained the ball for us.
“In possession he was excellent in terms of his composure to always look for the ball in that little space in front of the defence, move it side to side and keep us ticking over.
“I told him at half time how excellent he had been and to keep it up and remain disciplined. He did it brilliantly.”
Devlin, 24, is now in his second season at Tynecastle. He has yet to be capped by Australia but has made no secret of his ambition to represent his country.
Hearts teammates Kye Rowles and Nathaniel Atkinson are already integral members of the squad but with the World Cup just a few months away, Devlin’s performance against such high-calibre opposition may well give Socceroos boss Graham Arnold some food for thought.
“Look at the opposition,” Kingsley explained. “I realise Zurich have not had the best of starts, but they are a good team with international players.
“So for Cammy especially to put in a performance like that in that little pocket of space and under so much pressure was exceptional. It will do his confidence the world of good.”