Stephane Omeonga: Playing for Paul Heckingbottom’s Hibs is a pleasure

Stephane Omeonga believes the hard work being put in behind the scenes by Paul Heckingbottom’s players is being reflected in the Easter Road side’s results.
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Hibs have taken 13 points from a possible 15 in Heckingbottom’s first five matches in charge, a record which has seen them climb from eight place to sixth with a top-half finish now very much within their grasp, the 2-0 win over Motherwell putting them five points clear of the Fir Park outfit.

But, as impressive as that record is, Omeonga insisted there’s more to come as he and his team-mates continue to take in exactly what the former Barnsley and Leeds United manager is asking of them. Having arrived on loan from Serie A outfit Genoa in the January transfer window, Omeonga feels he is now showing Hibs fans exactly what he can do, his recent performances earning him a call-up for the Belgian Under-21 squad which will play Denmark as they continue their preparations for this summer’s European Championship finals in Italy.

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He said: “It was important to win on Saturday because now we are five points ahead of Motherwell and two points behind Hearts. We are really enjoying it. It’s a pleasure to play because we are trying to play attacking football, that’s what Hibs fans and the manager want. Now he (Heckingbottom) has had time to settle everything down, we’ve shown on the pitch what we are doing in training. There are things we can work on, we have to be more patient sometimes. You don’t have to counter every time you get the ball back, you have to keep it. But we are working on that in training and we will get to the point where we can keep the ball off the other team.”

Stephane Omeonga produced a superb display in the Hibs midfield against MotherwellStephane Omeonga produced a superb display in the Hibs midfield against Motherwell
Stephane Omeonga produced a superb display in the Hibs midfield against Motherwell

On arriving in Edinburgh, Omeonga revealed he was hoping his loan move would improve his international chances not only at Under-21 level but for Roberto Martinez’s star-studded full Belgian side. He said: “When I came here that was the target, to be in the squad for the summer because we have a massive tournament to play. I have to be consistent, play more and hope to be in the squad in the summer – that’s important for my career. I have been here more than a month. I have been given time to adapt and now I just have to show my quality and I’m thankful the manager trusts me because I want to be on the pitch giving everything I have. As a player, it is always good to be called up for your country. As a young player, that’s a lot of experience. I read an interview with Roberto Martinez in which he said there are some players in the Under-21s that catch the eye. That means he is looking at us. This is my last year in the Under-21s, next is the senior squad. I have to be patient, I am not saying I can make it now – but as a football player you have to have targets.”