Hibs kids contract latest as Steve Kean gives update ahead of Borussia Dortmund Euro clash
Steve Kean has revealed contract talks with Hibs’ youngsters are ‘heading in the right direction’ – but he wants full focus on the UEFA Youth League play-off showdown with Borussia Dortmund.
Several members of the under-19 squad are approaching the end of their current deals and supporters are anxious that the club’s emerging talents are tied down on longer contracts. The group won the CAS Elite Under-18 League at a relative canter last year and have performed well in Europe, eliminating Molde of Norway and French side Nantes en route to a one-off meeting in Edinburgh with the German giants, and the likes of Murray Aiken, Ethan Laidlaw, Oscar MacIntyre, Kanayo Megwa, and Josh O’Connor have all been in matchday squads recently, following manager Lee Johnson’s promise that he would give youngsters a chance.
Speaking ahead of the play-off with Dortmund at Easter Road on Tuesday night, academy chief Kean stated his belief that having a crop of youngsters in the senior squad each week would have a knock-on effect to those who hadn’t had the opportunity.
“If players have been on the pitch or the bench, other players who maybe haven’t had a chance yet can see that. That will give another player more desire and belief that they can do it too,” Kean said.
“This competition is an added bonus and it shows this team are developing and the individuals within it. Getting into the first-team is more important to the ones who have done it and the ones still to do it.”
Despite Aiken being the subject of transfer interest from Hull City during the January window, and other Scottish clubs having lost highly-rated youth players to teams in England or abroad, Kean is relaxed about the contracts of the club’s academy graduates.
“We have spoken with all the players and everything is going in the right direction,” he continued. “We want to focus on Dortmund, try to get through, and then the contract side will take care of itself. We are anxious to do well in this competition and get these quality young players signed on long term contracts. Ben Kensell [chief executive] has been across it and talks are going in the right direction – let’s get through this game, and then tie them to the club for longer.”