Andrew Webster has vowed to build on solid foundations at the Hearts Academy as he looks to guide the next generation of stars.
The Scottish Cup winner returned to Tynecastle this week, succeeding Frankie McAvoy as Academy Manager after leaving his role as Head of the Professional Game within the youth system at St. Mirren. Full of praise for his predecessor’s work at the academy, Andrew has his eyes set on helping take it even further. “First and foremost, I’m delighted to be back,” he told Hearts TV. “It’s a privileged role at the football club and one I’m really looking forward to. Regarding St. Mirren, I want to say how much I appreciate what they did for me. Having played and then moved into the coaching side, the club were great with me. “The academy’s moved on a lot since Frankie’s been in position, so the foundations are there for the academy making some big strides forward. The importance of giving young people opportunities is critical, especially as they go onwards in their football careers. “One thing that attracted me most to the role is how much good work is already in place. Things are looking really bright for the club – I think fans of every team, especially Hearts, will tell you how much they want to see young players in the team. “You have to make sure they’re relatively ready to step into the first team environment and when they do get their opportunities, you want to see them flourishing. Making that step into the first team is the biggest one they’ll make, and Hearts have the advantage of having the B Team to help bridge the gap which is great.” If anyone knows what it takes to make it in the first team at Hearts, it’s Andrew. Signed from Arbroath as an 18-year-old, he went on to become a rock in the heart of the Jambos defence for many seasons. With that in mind, he knows that the key to a successful career in football has changed little since his days in a maroon shirt. “That feels like such a long time ago,” he smiled. “The fundamentals have never really changed. Different generations approach it differently, but the key is a willingness to work hard and make sacrifices. “It’s about giving young people as many tools as you can to help them make that transition. They’re never going to be 100% ready for first team football, but we have to help them close that gap. “Our job, in the men and women’s academy, is to help them be prepared as they possibly can be. Having coached for a period, it’s nice to be able to give something back and see these young players going on to do well in their career.”