It’s always interesting when a new manager takes over at a club, because no one really knows what impact that’s going to have on the existing players.
Robbie Neilson surprised a lot of people when he chose to return to Hearts for next season, and it sounds like he has big plans for Aaron Hickey.
A report from HITC has suggested that Celtic are interested in signing the young full back, who had an impressive break through season this year.
Despite that, Neilson is adamant that he should stay in Edinburgh for now, and some of his comments were reported by The Glasgow Evening Times:
“I expect interest but my hope is that [Hickey] comes back for pre-season. My hope is that he plays for us over the season and we can tie him down to a longer deal.”
“He’s still a young kid and he still needs to develop. This is a great place for him to develop. Those will be conversations we have with him in the coming weeks and we’ll see how it goes. We want to keep hold of our best players and Aaron comes into that category.”
The point about development is an important one, because you have to think he’s going to become a better player by playing competitive football rather than sitting in a youth side somewhere else.
Even if Hearts are in The Championship next season, he’ll gain experience of playing with a team who’s expected to win the title, and that means they will want to win every game and that will come with a new kind of pressure.
The ideal situation for Celtic just now could be to sign him before loaning him back to Hearts for a season or two, but it sounds like they don’t have any intention of selling him.