U17s coach Liam Fox will continue his role full time next season, and also assist Jack Ross with the U20 side.
Ex-Hearts player Liam will call time on his professional playing career to take up the full-time post at the Hearts Football Academy and U20s Development Manager Jack believes the football department as a whole will benefit from having him around permanently.
Speaking exclusively to Hearts News, Jack said: “He’ll be assisting me but the knock-on effect is that he’ll also be assisting Stevie Crawford and Robbie Neilson as well. My role is partly to help the first-team coaches and it’s certainly been the case over the season, so Liam coming in full-time will benefit the entire coaching team.
“More than that though, there’s a benefit to the young players, which is the most important thing. They’ll benefit from having another member of coaching staff as they’ll get to spend even more time with us.
“All in all, it’s only a good thing for the club. We were all familiar with Liam, in terms of our time as players and Craig Levein has known him for a long time as well.
“The relationship between us all as coaching staff is really good and it’s really important to have another member of that coaching staff who we all feel can integrate with similar views, how they see the game and how they want to coach. Liam certainly meets all those criteria.”
Liam has spent the past two years at Championship side Raith Rovers, and although he’s giving up playing at the top level to coach, he’s not quite hanging his boots up just yet.
“The plan is to register him as a player and that way he’ll be able to help us out, when required, in Development League matches,” said Jack. “You can’t underestimate the importance of that because we have, at times, fielded a very young side so to have somebody on the park whose goal is to help them and influence them is great.”
Director of Football Craig Levein has carefully put into place a coaching infrastructure at the club, with the focus very much on continuity and promoting from within, and Jack is of the opinion that Liam is another piece of the Hearts jigsaw.
“Craig speaks to us on a daily basis about his vision for the coaching infrastructure and the club going forward, so Liam coming in full-time is really another piece of the jigsaw,” he revealed. “With the way the season has went, we were able to start putting in place potential plans and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to carry them through.
“Liam adds to what we’ve got at our disposal and that’s the important thing.”