Hibs striker Elias Melkersen lifts lid on Lee Johnson's style and versatility expectations

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Hibs striker Elias Melkersen is bigger and, he says, hopefully better under new Easter Road boss Lee Johnson.

The Norwegian striker arrived in January from Bodø/Glimt in his homeland, took time to settle, and scored a double on his first start in a Scottish Cup quarter-final victory over Motherwell at Fir Park.

He has started the new season ‘three or four kilos heavier’, with a brace against Burton Albion in pre-season and a goal and assist against Clyde, and was a coat of paint away from snatching an equaliser against Falkirk on Tuesday night when his header hit the post.

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Melkersen’s versatility allows him to play as a good old-fashioned number nine, but will also be expected to take up different roles out wide under Johnson.

“The manager has said that he wants me to play a little bit wider at times this season, but also as a main striker. That suits me perfectly, as long as I can play a lot of games, I will play anywhere,” he said ahead of the trip to Bonnyrigg Rose on Sunday on Premier Sports Cup duty.

“I always want to play as a central striker but I feel that being wider can help me as it means I can run forward to the goal instead of always having my back to the goal. It means I can fire off more shots earlier too.”

Revealing that Johnson is ‘very strict’ with the players, Melkersen added: “It’s easy for us to understand what we need to do on the pitch. He wants us to go forward all the time so it is very clear what he means.”

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Questions were raised about Melkersen’s ability in the second half of last season as he failed to find the net in any league games, but the striker insists there was a contributory factor.

Elias Melkersen: bigger, and hopefully better under Lee JohnsonElias Melkersen: bigger, and hopefully better under Lee Johnson
Elias Melkersen: bigger, and hopefully better under Lee Johnson

"When you make 100 runs and never get the ball, you do get frustrated so I think the new style will be very good,” he explained.

As for Bonnyrigg, Melkersen insisted cup games are exciting, but Hibs would need to earn the right to a result.

“It’s different opponents, different people, so you always need to try to do the best you can do… even if the pitch is s***e. You just need to fight for it,” he finished.

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