London Hearts Supporters Club

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Steven Pressley has backed Andy Webster to win back his Scotland place

Hearts captain Steven Pressley has backed Andy Webster to win back his Scotland place - and go on to form the backbone of the national team with Tynecastle team-mate Craig Gordon.

The pair were selected for the Scotland Future team in Austria on Tuesday after manager Walter Smith decided they would benefit from the experience of playing with the Scotland 'B' team.

Webster, who has made 12 appearances at full international level, was originally capped by former boss Berti Vogts.

But, at 23, his club-mate believes he should not look at his Future Team involvement as a step backwards.

Webster was playing for Arbroath only three seasons ago, but Pressley believes people have forgotten he is still learning his trade after his swift rise.

Hearts, who are preparing for their second meeting with Hibernian in the space of 10 days, have an inexperienced back-line made up of Webster, 17-year-olds Jason Thomson and Lee Wallace and Pressley.

Now the Jambos' captain admits he feels like an elder statesman in the team these days.

He said: "Andy was named as captain on Tuesday and that would've been a great lift for him.

"To represent your country at any level is a brilliant experience and he will only benefit from playing more games against quality opposition.

"We had three players in the squad which is very good for Hearts and Andy will make the step back to the full team sooner rather than later, I'm sure of that.

"The new manager (Smith) felt he would gain something from the trip to Austria and by all accounts he played well, so I'm sure he's in his thoughts for the games we've got coming up.

"I've said all along that Andy will go on to become an exceptional defender.

"He rose through the ranks from Arbroath to Hearts and then Scotland so quickly it's easy to forget that he's still young.

"I expect Andy and Craig Gordon to be regular fixtures in the national team in a few years' time.

"We have a very young defence, especially when Lee Wallace and Jason Thomson - who are both 17 - are in the team.

"They have done very well since coming into the team and it's an indication of the quality of youngsters we have at the club."

Hearts' £6million Riccarton training complex is the envy of many Bank of Scotland Premier League clubs and Pressley believes the facility is starting to prove its worth.

He insists the Jambos are now in a position to attract the best youngsters around and will reap the benefits in years to come.

He said: "For a number of years, Hearts have produced some great talents and, if you look at transfer fees paid to Scottish clubs, we're at the forefront because of guys like Gary Naysmith.

"Our youth coach John McGlynn is doing a fantastic job and has the Under-18 side at the top of the youth league - that shows we're getting it right.

"The facilities the club have invested in have given us the advantage over a lot of the others and we're now able to attract the top talent because they know they'll be looked after properly and given their chance."

Hearts late challenge to Hibs and Aberdeen for a UEFA Cup place has been boosted by the form of Lee Miller.

The striker, who is on loan from Bristol City, is keen to move to Tynecastle permanently but the club has yet to meet City's valuation.

Pressley would now love to see him team up with Hearts on a long-term contract.

He said: "Lee has come into the team and has impressed everyone with his performances and goals.

"I don't know the exact ins-and-outs of the deal so it's hard for me to comment on his future, but he's a quality player and someone who enhances our squad."

Bristol City are believed to be demanding a total of £400,000 for striker Lee Miller.

Miller has joined Hearts on loan until the end of the season and the Tynecastle club are keen to make his move permanent.

But it is understood Hearts are unwilling to meet City's new valuation of the player.

Taken from

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