Paul Heckingbottom has told Hibs kid Fraser Murray he’s already been “bumped up” to next season’s first-team squad following his performances in the final two games of the season.
After battling back from a persistent groin problem, the 20-year-old midfielder started his first Premiership match against Kilmarnock and kept his place for the visit of Aberdeen in which he supplied a sumptuous pass for team-mate Marc McNulty to open the scoring.
Now, as Heckingbottom begins a major rebuild following the departure of 13 members of his squad, Murray will immediately step up to fill one of those holes.
The Easter Road head coach said: “Fraser has lots of energy and desire to get better and that’s really important, that’s what we are looking for. He’s part of my squad for next season, we have bumped him up and we will be recruiting around him, not blocking his path.
“Fraser has got lots of good attributes. He has a hell of a lot to learn, but maybe one of his best attributes is how much he is willing to learn. He’s driven, disciplined and has good quality. He’s in our squad next year, we’ve cleared a space for him.
“He will be part of the group and then he has to fight with everyone else for a place.”
Heckingbottom admitted he’s facing a hectic summer as he reshapes the squad he inherited from Neil Lennon but said: “I am excited about it. We have had regular chats and meetings about how hard we have to work.”
And while he has definite targets in mind, he told Hibs TV: We have to be planning for every eventuality and keep pushing until that window closes. This is arguably the busiest part of the job.”