Steven Naismith lists 3 factors Hearts must consider as Lawrence Shankland hints at transfer exit

Lawrence Shankland and Steven Naismith
Lawrence Shankland and Steven Naismith -Credit:SNS Group

Steven Naismith admits Lawrence Shankland must do what's best for his family as the Hearts hero weighs up his future.

Shankland was crowned PFA Scotland Player of the Year winner on Sunday night after a sensational season that has seen him rattle 28 goals to help the Jambos secured third spot and guaranteed European football next season. But the 28-year-old might not be around to play on the Euro stage after confessing for the first time that he could depart the club either this summer or when his deal expires in 12 months time.

Talks over an extension were halted in January after failing to reach an agreement but clubs chiefs are due to get back around the table with their captain's representatives over the coming weeks. Naisy is relaxed over the situation but the Tynecastle head coach confessed multiple factors will be considered before Shankland's future is eventually decided.

He told the Edinburgh Evening News: “I experienced it not so long ago myself. You are in a team sport environment, it’s a passionate sport, it’s people’s lives. Some of the fans and people who are part of the Foundation, Hearts is the biggest thing in their lives. It means everything to them. I’ve seen that at different clubs.

“It’s hard to see things from a player’s point of view at times: That person’s individual goals and what drives them. Inevitably it’s family and trying to do as much as you can in your career. One thing you don’t want to do when you retire is say: ‘I wish I’d done this or that.’ Because you are never getting that time back. It’s like no other job in the world. Your body is your tools and your asset. When it eventually goes and your time is up, you aren’t getting it back.

“If Shanks left tomorrow for whatever reason, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t like Hearts or he hasn’t had a fantastic time here. Arguably, he has played his best stuff at Hearts but it’s football. We have him contracted for another year so we have an element of control as a club. I’m sure Shanks will be as professional as he has been through all of this and will do what is right for him.

“If that is signing a new contract then he will look to do that. If it’s not, then it’s not. Nobody can grudge Shanks taking his time, having an understanding of what he wants to do and making sure he makes the right choice for him and his family. That’s where it is. Not much has changed from January or last summer.

“He has a year left and the club will have a decision to make in terms of the bigger picture. We need to look ahead. We can’t have situations every year like Josh Ginnelly, where he comes to the end of his contract and we can’t do anything about it. You have got to value him: What’s the worth of keeping a player for that last year? Is there an offer there? Does he want to sign a new contract? All these factors come in.

“There is a real calmness within the club about it all. There is an understanding of all the variations that can happen. One thing is for sure, as long as Shanks is here he will give one 100 per cent and he will lead by example as he has done all season.”