BY HEARTS NEWS IN LEIGH
Hearts star Jamie Walker insists that Ryan Gauld's big-money move to Portugal shows the quality emerging in Scottish football.
The teenager penned a lucrative deal with Sporting Lisbon after coming through the ranks at Dundee United, and having seen Tynecastle team-mate Adam King clinch a switch to the English Premiership with Swansea last season, the Gorgie favourite reckons there could be more to follow.
Club are being forced to rely more and more on their youngsters in the current climate and Jamie thinks that can only be a good thing in the long run.
"With Adam King here, the boys from Falkirk and, obviously, Ryan Gauld, I think it shows that more and more young boys are getting their chance in Scottish football - and the talent is coming through," he said.
"There are some really good players here and they are getting noticed more and more, that can only be good for the future.
"Nobody can really buy anyone in Scottish football like they used to, especially after Rangers went down. So, part and parcel of that is clubs need to rely on their own players, and they are stepping up.
"And other countries seem to be noticing that. Look at Ryan going to Sporting Lisbon. That is an unbelievable move for him.
"Everyone knows now that if they play well they have a great chance of attracting a big club and making a great life for themselves."
The Hearts winger has come to prominence himself in the last couple of seasons after making the most of his opportunities in the first team.
He enjoyed a new role against Bulgarian champions Ludogorets Razgrad in Thursday's night's friendly in Leigh and is hoping to keep impressing head coach as the kick-off to the new season approaches.
"They were a really good side and we have only been back in pre-season for a few days so it was a really good workout for the boys," he said.
"We played well in the first half and in the second, as you would expect, we faded away a little bit. But overall it was a good workout.
"It has been tough going [in training] and it was good to get a game under our belts.
"I enjoyed the game. I was allowed to play coming inside, off the right-flank, so I had a bit more freedom and I tried to use that and work hard. Hopefully I impressed the gaffer in that position.
"I'd like to see myself playing in that sort of role. I've never really played there before. Wherever the gaffer chooses to play me, this season is a massive one for me.
"I've played a few games in the first-team now and I think I have equipped myself pretty well. I just want to kick-on."