New Hearts signings discuss why they made Tynecastle switch

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New Hearts signing Aaron McEneff admits he is targeting trophies and caps after making the switch from Shamrock Rovers.

The box-to-box midfielder on Monday signed a two-and-a-half year deal in a reported £175,000 transfer, just hours after manager Robbie Neilson recruited winger Gervane Kastaneer on loan from Coventry City.

Former Tottenham trainee McEneff scored 18 goals in 59 appearances for Irish title winners Rovers and earned a maiden call-up to the Republic of Ireland squad for November’s UEFA Nations League match against Bulgaria.

Aaron McEneff signs for Hearts | Hearts news
McEneff has been on the books at Tottenham Pic: heartsfc.co.uk

The 25-year-old is keen to hit the ground running at Tynecastle as he revealed his own ambitions.

He said: “Hearts is a massive club and I see it as a massive opportunity to come here and play in Scotland.

“It’s a new challenge, it’s one that I’m really looking forward to. I know the boys have been doing well this season.

“It’s a case of trying to win the Championship and getting promoted back to where the club belongs, really.

“I think that’s where the club belongs in the top league, and I would like to win trophies here, and why not?”

On the prospect of making his full international debut while at Hearts, Derry-born McEneff, who has been capped at Northern Ireland youth level, added: “It was a really proud moment for me getting called into the international squad.

“It’s something I would like to strive towards in the future and get a cap, but you can only do that through club appearances really and that’s where my focus is at the minute. 

“Hitting the ground running is a top priority and lets see what happens.”

McEneff and Kastaneer’s arrivals on Monday took Neilson’s transfer window signing tally to four, with winger Gary Mackay-Steven and striker Armand Gnanduillet having also joined in January.

Kastaneer admits he is desperate to follow in the footsteps of his fellow Dutchmen by making an impact at Tynecastle.

Gervane Kastaneer signs for Hearts | Hearts news
Kastaneer Pic: heartsfc.co.uk

Hearts fans have fond memories of players from the Netherlands.

Mark De Vries became a huge favourite after the striker scored a total of 34 goals at the club, including four in one game against rivals Hibs, following his arrival in 2002.

Genero Zeefuik then notched 12 goals in 15 games to help Hearts clinch the Championship title in 2015.

Speaking to Hearts TV, Kastaneer, who was capped at Netherlands Under-21 level before switching his international allegiance to Curacao, said: “It feels nice to be here. I’m very happy to be here and ready to start.

“It’s a very, very big club with a very nice history. Of course, a lot of Dutch players have played here.

“Mark de Vries, Zeefuik. It’s a good history for Dutch people here and I want to continue that here. Hopefully I will do that.

“For me, it’s a big club and no one will say no to Hearts, I think.”

Hearts manager Neilson said: “I’m pleased that we’ve been able to get Gervane signed up so quickly.

“He’s got a great pedigree, having played top flight football in Holland and in the English Championship and also at a big German club in Kaiserslautern.

“There’s strength in his play, he’s physically imposing but is pacey and very direct.

“The injury to Josh Ginnelly was a blow but with Gervane here we’re now equipped once again on the wings and I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do as we push towards the title.”

Speaking about McEneff’s arrival, Hearts sporting director Joe Savage said: “Aaron is someone that I’ve been looking at for the best part of four years and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to bring him to Hearts.

“He’s been one of Ireland’s standout players for a couple of years now, evidenced by his recent international call up.

“I’m sure the fans are going to be excited by him; he’s really energetic, a box-to-box midfielder who can chip in with goals as well.”