Daniel Stendel has said Ryotaro Meshino is putting in the hard yards as the Manchester City loanee looks to kickstart his Hearts career again.
Initially after arriving from City, Meshino looked like a bright spark, scoring against the likes of Motherwell and Rangers. Following the winter break though, he’s hardly had a chance, playing in just four games during Stendel’s 13 games in charge.
Speaking to the Edinburgh Evening News, Stendel has given hope to the Japanese attacker. The German has been pleased with his work ethic and attitude in training.
“We started in January to do things together and learn what we need to do more,” said Stendel. “He was not here at that time. In the last few weeks, we have had no time to train [with so many games].
“We trained with ten players only in the recovery session at times. It is difficult to bring him in and we tried against St Johnstone. I can say he has worked hard in training.
“This is a really good attitude because it is not easy when you expect to play and you do not play, or you are not even in the squad. He is still working hard to come back into the squad to play.”
So far this term Meshino has played in 17 Premiership matches, scoring three times. His last display came in the 3-3 draw with St Johnstone at the start of this month, a game he was hooked in after an hour.
He’s been out of favour since returning to Hearts from Japan U23s duty in Thailand. Stendel put across his ways of working in the time Meshino was gone and the Manchester City prospect has missed out on those lessons.
It’s left him with an uphill task to get back into Stendel’s team. By the sounds of things though, the attacker is doing all he can in training to impress his German boss.
Hearts’ next match is in the Scottish Cup this weekend against Rangers. Having beaten the Gers 2-1 in a recent Premiership match, the Jambos will go into this cup quarter with the knowledge they can trouble Steven Gerrard’s side.