Steven Naismith reveals why he turned down USA move to join Hearts

Steven NaismithSteven Naismith
Steven Naismith
Steven Naismith has revealed that he rejected interest from America to join Hearts because he wanted to do right by his family and preserve his Scotland career.

The 32-year-old has signed a four-year deal after spending the last 18 months on loan in Edinburgh from Norwich City. As a free agent, he had offers from the United States but wanted to end his career at Tynecastle.

Naismith wants to keep his young children in Scotland and continue representing his country, for whom he has 49 caps.

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“It was family and it [America] was just too big a gamble for me. Family was one side of it but the other side was the national team,” explained Naismith.

“People say Johnny Russell does it but he is at the peak of his career, he is a young guy, but that was one of the biggest things. Outside of wanting to do well for Hearts, and pull the club as far forward as I can by doing my part, the biggest thing for me is the national team and getting to the Euros.

“We still have the Nations League, which is the back up, and there’s still the rest of this European Championship campaign. I just have to work hard and make sure I’m in the squad and hope I can be there.”

Scotland manager Steve Clarke is already an admirer of Naismith having tried to sign him twice at club level. “I met him in the summer and he is not going to promise me anything, but he tried to sign me when I went to Everton and then when I came back here he had a conversation with me about going to Kilmarnock. So I had a relationship there before,” said Naismith, who missed the end of last season through injury.

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“I live near Kilmarnock and you bump into him. He just said: ‘Get fit. You know I wanted to sign you so there is a reason for me to pick you if you are doing well.’ That’s the same situation I was in with the old manager. He came in and picked squads and I wasn’t in them but I made sure I did make it into them.”

Naismith thought his international career was over this time last year. “I never thought I would get any more caps and I was genuinely saying my dad and my missus that it was probably me done,” he said. “I didn’t get called up when I thought I should have been called up, but then I was in two days later and I knew I needed to show what I could do.

“I did that in the first two days in training. I noticed there was a little bit of a gap because the manager had gone with a young squad and I just thought that if I could try to control things when I was training and show I could do that, then I knew I would become valuable. That is effectively what happened in the two, three, four games, whatever it was. If I start the way I started last season then I would back myself to get back in again.”