Friday, August 12, 2022
SportHeartsHearts boss tips Jamie Walker for Scotland call-up and insists he is...

Hearts boss tips Jamie Walker for Scotland call-up and insists he is better than wingers at Celtic, Rangers & Aberdeen


Hearts head coach Ian Cathro insists it is a matter of when – not if – playmaker Jamie Walker earns a maiden Scotland call-up.

And Cathro insists he would not swap Walker for any other winger in the Premiership after watching the 23-year-old torment Rangers with his two-goal contribution in Wednesday’s emphatic 4-1 victory.

Scotland are in action against Canada and Slovenia next month and former Newcastle United and Valencia assistant manager Cathro reckons it is only a matter of time before Walker’s form is recognised by national team manager Gordon Strachan.

Cathro said: “Jamie will play for Scotland, there’s no doubt about that.

“It will just be when they put him in. That will happen. Nature will take care of that.

“When? It maybe depends on how well the team goes, maybe the team has to become more solid or have the ball a bit more.

“It might come down to the opinion of who is in charge and all those things.

“But eventually you can’t stop that level of talent.

“I see him every day. I see talent.

“He feels the game, he understands it. He just knows. He feels when somebody is coming in or this space opens or closes. He just feels football.

“I’m sure that (a move to England) will also happen at a point but I think he’s going to improve quite a bit with me.”

Asked how he compared to fellow Premiership wingers James Forrest, Barrie McKay and Johnny Hayes, Cathro added: “Jamie is the only one I want out of them. Fortunately he’s here. I wouldn’t swap him for any of them.”

Cathro, meanwhile, admits he is delighted for Arnaud Djoum after the midfielder helped Cameroon set up an Africa Cup of Nations final against Egypt on Sunday.

He added: “It’s great, I miss him as well.

“I’m really pleased for him. We’ve shared a couple of texts messages and we’ll all be supporting him.

“We’ll have him back in the middle of next week and hopefully he’s a winner.”

Wednesday’s victory against Rangers shifted the pressure from Cathro on to Mark Warburton and the 30-year-old admits he has sympathy for his Ibrox counterpart.

He added: “We live in insane extremities but that’s why it remains so important that it (pressure) just can’t come in.

“That’s the make up of the game and how important it is and how we need stories and information and debate and that’s just because we love the game so much.

“There will always be the extreme pressure on somebody and the extreme hailing of someone.”

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