BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
HIBS new boy Vykintas Slivka insists crossing swords with Scotland and England at international level has whetted his appetite for the rough-and-tumble of British football after completing his move from Juventus.
The 22-year-old has penned a three-year contract – rather than the loan switch which was originally mooted – with the capital club paying the Serie A giants an undisclosed fee for his services.
Slivka, who becomes the Hibees’ seventh summer signing, was part of the Lithuania side which claimed a shock 1-1 draw at Hampden last October, teeing up the crucial opener for Fedor Cernych.
He also played 87 minutes at Wembley in March as Edgaras Jankauskas’ men suffered a credible 2-0 reverse against England – and those encounters have afforded Slivka a preview of what to expect from his switch to Easter Road.
“The international matches against Scotland and England have given me a taste of the British style of football,” he told hibernianfc.co.uk. “Now I can’t wait to get started.
“This is another step in my career and I am really excited to be joining the club.
“I am looking forward to meeting the squad and getting ready for the new season.”
Slivka, who boasts one goal in 19 caps, was tipped for the top as a teenager when Juve snapped him up from Ekranas in his homeland in 2013.
However, he failed to make his senior debut for the Old Lady – a place on the bench against Genoa in 2014 proving as close as he would come – and spent last season on loan with Ascoli in Serie B, making just five appearances and playing alongside former Hearts defender Blazej Augustyn.
Prior to that spell, the 6ft3ins midfielder was also farmed out Modena, Croatian outfit Gorica and FC Den Bosch in Holland.
Speaking prior to his capture, head coach Neil Lennon underlined the raw potential of Slivka.
He said: “I think he is a decent player and, while he might take a bit of time to bed in, I think it is a good bit of business. Hopefully he will show what he can do here.
“Tactically, he is very good. He is athletic, two-footed and has an eye for a goal. He covers the ground very well and looks very composed on the ball. The opportunity came along and we liked the look of what we saw.”
Meanwhile, Hibs have received international clearance for Slivka’s compatriot, Deivydas Matulevicius, and the towering striker could make his debut against Alloa this weekend after joining from Belgian side Royal Mouscron.