Former Hearts defender Jose Goncalves has backed Perry Kitchen to become a firm fans favourite after the USA internationalist completed his move to Tynecastle on a two-and-a-half year deal.
With international clearance still to be granted, midfielder Kitchen has made the switch to Scotland following four years playing in the MLS with DC United.
Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson has already hailed the 24-year-old’s arrival as a coup for the club after Kitchen reportedly turned down a £6,000 per week contract in the US to peruse his dream of playing in Europe.
Goncalves, who played for Hearts between 2006 and 2010, came up against Kitchen for New England Revolution and the defender is in no doubt that he will be a success at Hearts.
Goncalves said: “Hearts are getting a very good young midfield.
“He’s played for a few years in the MLS, he is young but he has experience and he’s a good footballer.
“He’s technical and he’s the type of player that won’t back off from a challenge. I’m not saying he’s a dirty player, I know he’s very fair having played against him.
“He works hard for his team-mates and he can also play football.
“That’s what the fans in Scotland like, a player that is honest and he will give his all for the team.
“He can help Hearts get stronger in the midfield. He has been with the US national team and I think Hearts is a good fit for him.
“To have Perry Kitchen in the team, I’ve never heard anything bad about him and he seems very honest on the field.”
Goncalves reckons Hearts is the perfect place for Kitchen to showcase his talent as the playmaker bids to further his career in Europe.
He added: “I was surprised to hear that he moved to Scotland but as soon as I found out he had signed for Hearts, I thought it would be a good fit.
“I heard through my team-mates, who play in the national team with him, that he turned down a very big offer to stay but it’s not about the money for him.
“He wants to play in Europe and improve and I think he made a great choice to choose Hearts. For him it’s a great step signing for Hearts.”
Hearts head coach Neilson hopes Kitchen can flourish during his time in Gorgie.
He said: “I’m really happy that we’ve managed to get Perry signed up.
“Everyone’s worked really hard to get this deal over the line, so I’m pleased that he’s now officially a Hearts player.
“Perry’s a great talent and one I’m looking forward to working with.
“He’s got a wealth of experience over in the MLS but he wants to test himself in Europe, and I’m delighted that he’s chosen Hearts as the place to further develop himself.
“He’s a winner and will show real drive and determination in the middle of the park.
“We want to provide a platform for him to perform, and I know he will also help our younger players to progress as well.”