Steven Naismith applauds Hearts hidden gem who has 4 things that could make him international superstar
Hearts boss Steven Naismith reckons classy Calem Nieuwenhof is set for a senior international breakthrough.
The 22-year-old has been outstanding in recent weeks for the Tynecastle side. Nieuwenhof has taken time to hit top gear after his move last summer from A-League outfit Western Sydney Wanderers. But the midfielder is now flying and cracked his second goal in five games during a smooth Scottish Cup show against Airdrie.
Nieuwenhof has been capped seven times for Australia's Under-23s, but Naismith believes he can soon emulate Hearts teammates Nat Atkinson, Kye Rowles and Cammy Devlin in winning full Socceroo honours if he maintains his pace of progress. The boss said: “He’s at a great age, someone who has a desire to get into his international team and I don’t think that’ll be too far away if he continues the same vein of form. He’s impressed us since he came in, if I’m honest. The character is, he’s a reserved person and really chilled out.
“That probably went against him in his first few months when he was finding his feet, but in training he’s quality, his calmness in possession, his understanding of the game, his range of passing and he’s a goal threat as well. So, as much as I’m delighted with him and he’s in a great position, he’s still got loads to go beyond here.
“His performances are getting consistent, but I think he could dominate games more, which is a pleasing aspect for us. His age and the energy he’s got, he’s one of the fittest players at the club and what he brings on and off the ball is really important.
“But he’s consistently improving and becoming more dominant in games, which is why we signed him. We knew he was a really good player.”