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STENDEL IN COCHRANE TALKS

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HEARTS boss Daniel Stendel has held talks with Harry Cochrane in an effort to get the best out of the Hearts youngster.

The 18-year-old midfielder, who made his debut two seasons ago when Craig Levein was gaffer, returned from his loan spell at Dunfermline in January.

Cochrane did not feature for the rock-bottom Tynecastle outfit before the lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Stendel, speaking to the Evening News, said: “Harry is a big talent and he played in the first team at such a young age. He has had ups and downs, but he is one of the players we want to improve.

“We want him to get to a new level, higher than his best level. He did not play when he came back from his loan because he was not ready. Before the break, we had some talks with him about what we can do to improve him and put him in a good position in the squad.

“He was very close to the matchday squad before the games stopped. His performance in the last couple of weeks before the break was a little bit higher every week.

“That was a good sign for me and for him. He is one of our best young players and we want to keep him.”

IN CHARGE…Harry Cochrane bamboozles Celtic skipper Scott Brown in Hearts’ amazing 4-0 win in December 2017.

Stendel explained why Cochrane was not ready for action after the four-month temporary switch with the Championship side.

The German coach, who took over from Levein in December, added: “There were a lot of things. When we have players with the quality to play in the first team, we want to keep players for the future training at a high level and fighting for a place in the squad every week.

“This is what I want, that I can see the players every week thinking: ‘Okay, what do I have to do to play?’ We want to have a coherent situation with every player pushing to a higher level.

“With Harry, we can see every week he is a little bit better and this is what I expect from him. We have started some extra training sessions with the young guys to improve them to another level.”

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Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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