Pre-season is a great time for managers to assess their squad’s fitness, experiment with their playing squad and work out what their team is missing. For Craig Levein and Hearts, the missing piece of the Jambos’ puzzle may well be young Anthony McDonald.
Goals were an issue last season for the men in maroon. Less goals than the rest of the top six and Motherwell, Craig Levein’s team scored the equivalent to newly-promoted Livingston (42). Creativity is therefore a must, along with contributions of goals as well as assists.
McDonald is a talented Hearts teenager
Having turned 18 in March, should you have watched Anthony McDonald in pre-season, he doesn’t look out of place in the Hearts first team whatsoever.
At Angus Beith’s benefit match in particular, he grabbed Hearts’ goal with a superb volley and was a nuisance for his former loan club throughout.
Hearts legend John Robertson and Inverness should take credit for their part in his development. Caley helped him to a taste of first team football at Championship level.
He appears to have come back from the Highlands quicker, sharper and much more aware of his teammates around him.
McDonald must make the most of his minutes in maroon
Of course, it is only pre-season but ultimately, for the likes of McDonald and some other youngsters, there is no greater chance to prove to Levein that they have got what it takes to feature for Hearts on a more regular basis.
After all, Levein can’t have forgotten about McDonald. It was he who gave him his first appearance in maroon at just 16. Perhaps rushed too quickly then, this campaign should be an excellent springboard for McDonald to hopefully make his mark in the Hearts first team.
Having not recruited a right midfielder this summer so far, unless Jamie Walker is to play there, that should leave Callumn Morrison and Anthony McDonald vying for that place.
Both talented young wingers, it’s an interesting slot for someone to take in this Hearts team this upcoming season. It’ll be interesting to see who’s given the green light to start for Hearts when they welcome Dundee United to Tynecastle on Friday.