OLLY LEE has confessed he is determined to prove he is his own man at Hearts after shaking off the burden of being the son of England star Rob.
The summer signing admits he felt the pressure of growing up in his father’s shadow earlier in his career as people heaped expectations on his shoulders.
But, with his old man – the former Newcastle United and Charlton Athletic midfielder – having retired 12 years ago, Lee is determined to earn his own reputation at Tynecastle.
He said: “When I was younger I used to feel a little bit of pressure being his son, because everyone expects a lot of you.
“But, since then, I’ve become my own man. I’m Olly Lee, I’m not Rob Lee’s son. I want to get away from that.
“I’m immensely proud of it, but I’m Olly Lee and I’m here to show the Hearts fans what I can do – and it’s nothing to do with my dad.
“It always helps that I’ve got someone I can turn to and someone I can ask for advice.
“He’s been there and done it, so in that sense it’s a big advantage for me, because any worries I have or any queries, I can always go and ask his opinion on it.
“It’s a nice person to have behind me.
“He could play a bit as well, he was all right! He likes to remind me of that as well!
“And if I can be half as good as him then I’ll be all right.”
Lee has revealed his dad helped convince him to join Hearts this summer, and the 21-times capped internationalist even took to the airwaves during a talkSPORT programme to robustly defend his son’s decision to move north.
Lee junior admits the easier decision would have been to stay on at Luton Town following their promotion to League One.
However, the 26-year-old was sold on the switch to Gorgie after taking in last month’s 2-1 Edinburgh derby triumph over Hibs at Tynecastle.
Speaking at the opening of Hearts’ new club store in the Tynecastle main stand, he added: “It’s a massive club. I think sometimes people down south are naive to it, but it’s 20,000 people every other week.
“You’re playing in huge games that really matter to a massive city, in Edinburgh.
“So, it was a no-brainer for me, to be honest.
“Without being disrespectful, it’s a lot bigger here than what I’ve come from.
“That’s what I wanted. I felt I was ready for a step up, and in my opinion this is a big step up and one I’ve been ready for for a couple of years.
“I thought the lads were brilliant that night [the derby]. I just wanted to be a part of it. I had itchy feet sitting in the stands just watching it.
“To see the fans and the reactions when the goals went in, and after the game, I had to be a part of it. The stadium was bouncing that night.
“Luton get a lot of fans and it would 9,000 or 10,000 every game, but coming here it’s 19,000 or 20,000 and I can’t tell you how excited I am to play in front of the fans.”