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Steven Naismith's Euro 2020 dream is key to future as he ponders permanent Hearts deal | Football News And Cup Today | Cup News
Euro Football

Steven Naismith’s Euro 2020 dream is key to future as he ponders permanent Hearts deal


The prospect of playing for Scotland at Euro 2020 is driving Steven Naismith’s plans for next season.

Naismith remains in advanced talks with Hearts over a permanent move after spending 18 months on loan at Tynecastle from Norwich, where his current contract is set to expire.

The 32-year-old’s Hearts form revived his international career after an 18-month absence from the Scotland set-up.

Naismith netted in the Nations League win over Albania as he made four appearances last autumn before a knee problem forced him out again before Scotland sealed a guaranteed play-off for the European Championship.

But he expects to be fit for the start of the new season and he aims to force his way into the plans of new Scotland manager Steve Clarke, who begins his reign with a Euro 2020 qualifier against Cyprus on Saturday.

Launching the search for this year’s entries to the Scottish Football Hall of Fame at Hampden, Naismith said: “To be honest, as I sit over the summer and think about my next move, that is one of the biggest things I think about.

“Effectively it is the last chance for me to go to a tournament, or a Euros tournament, and I want to do all I can.

“On the back of the Nations League, we have a great opportunity. We can now go through this campaign hopefully with a bit of freedom to push and just try and qualify.

“That’s everything that drives me and it’s something I do want to be involved in.”

Naismith has already told Clarke he is desperate to be part of his plans.

“I spoke to him a couple of weeks ago, just a general chat, and seeing first of all where I was at in terms of wanting to be involved,” he said.

“I made it clear I love going away with Scotland, it’s one of the best things I have done in my football career.

“He was saying I would be in contention if I was fit so it was a good conversation. But the main thing is get fit and get to the levels I was playing at last season to get involved.”

The former Everton man has always been impressed when watching teams coached by Clarke, who managed West Brom and Reading before Kilmarnock and also coached Chelsea, Newcastle, West Ham, Liverpool and Aston Villa.

Naismith said of his appointment: “I think it was the all-round best choice, the safest choice. He has a lot of experience, he is very knowledgeable about the game and not just with a specific type of team, a team challenging or fighting relegation, he has experienced it all.

“When I went down south and followed his teams that we played, every team he has been involved in has been organised and that’s the basis to work from.

“That’s something we will benefit from a lot and hopefully he can take us to the Euros.”

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