Hearts manager Craig Levein has commented on the role senior players at the club have in developing young Jambo talent.

The Gorgie outfit have the likes of Harry Cochrane, Anthony McDonald and Aaron Hickey staking claims for regular senior berths.

Cochrane one of many young Hearts kids pushing for a first-team place. (Photo by Alan Rennie/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Levein acknowledges that the likes of Christophe Berra will be pivotal to the young Jambos’ development.

He stressed to NTOF how important senior influence is. The Tynecastle manager hopes the young Hearts players can learn from their experienced peers, just like he learned from Sandy Jardine when making his own breakthrough at Tynecastle.

Asked about whether the likes of Berra have a role in their development on the park, Levein said: “On and off the park yeah.

Souttar has been helped by Berra’s influence. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“They speak to the young ones on a regular basis off the field, but on the field as well. For example, Berra has had a big impact on the improvement of John Souttar. You can see that in Souttar’s play in recent seasons.

“I was lucky enough to play at Hearts when Sandy Jardine was there, and I took on board a lot of the messages he gave me during the game. I believe that’s the proper way for young players to learn.”

Levein knows he has to be cautious with throwing in young players regularly

Whilst he’s aware that the Tynecastle side have many youngsters who are ready to play first-team football, Levein knows the risks of throwing them all in at once. He knows they must be played carefully and in a way that helps their development.

Not very clever to throw them all in at once. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Levein explained why the Jambos must be cautious when playing young guns: “What I don’t want to do is heap pressure on them. I would like to put the young players in and out based on the rest of the team and the support they get from the positions round about them.

“Relying solely on the young players is never a good thing. Having the opportunity to choose what games they come in and what games they come out is much better.

“I feel good that they are another year older than they were this time last year. Again they’ve all proved they can help the team and it’s great credit to Roger Arnott and those who work in the academy.

Youngsters like Connor Smith can’t be thrown in all at once.(Photo by Alan Rennie/Action Plus via Getty Images)

“I’m very hopeful we’ll have a really strong team in at least three or four years time that at least 50% of them will be academy players.”

Have something to tell us about this article?