What Toby Sibbick told Hearts' Australian players - and why their World Cup involvement will help the Tynecastle club
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Cammy Devlin, Nathaniel Atkinson and Kye Rowles are preparing for the Socceroos’ opening Group D match on Tuesday against world champions France. Although Rowles and Atkinson are just back from injury, Australia coach Graham Arnold called them up. Hearts defender Sibbick is eager to see how they fare.
“I hope they get a few good shirts against France. I’ve told them they need to get a few good ones,” he said. “I’m happy for them. They have done well for us this season. Kye has been out injured and it’s great that he’s going to the World Cup. It shows what the manager thinks of him as a player. Three of them are going and we will be right behind them. You can see in Kye’s performances that he’s a quality player. He is class to play with.
“European football [with Hearts] should help prepare them for the World Cup. Cammy and Natty have had that experience and Kye’s had a little bit as well. Now they are going to be playing against the very best players, especially France, who won the World Cup previously. They have top players and it will be great for the lads to test themselves against the likes of [Kylian] Mbappe and [Karim] Benzema. We will be watching them and it will also help Hearts. For any player going to the World Cup it will be a top-class experience but they are still young. I’m sure they will have a great experience out there and I’m looking forward to them telling us all about it when they get back.”
Craig Halkett’s recent return from injury also pleased Sibbick. “He’s played a lot of games at a high level and when he’s injured he comes into the dressing room at half-time and full-time and gives us advice from what he’s seen from the side of the pitch. When we win, he’s on the pitch celebrating with us. It’s good to have him back. I have a funny relationship with him off the pitch. He’s a good character and we have good banter together, but we can also talk seriously.”