Sean Clare believes he will get to the top of the Premier League one day – and signing for Hearts is the best way to achieve his goal.
The midfielder raised eyebrows by joining Hearts on a three-year contract on Sunday after being linked with the likes of Leeds, Aston Villa, Tottenham, Everton and Fulham.
Clare was able to move for a relatively modest compensation fee after deciding to leave Sheffield Wednesday, where he made five appearances earlier this year.
And the Londoner made a career choice with his long-term development in mind after joining Craig Levein’s Ladbrokes Premiership table-toppers.
Speaking on his 22nd birthday, Clare said: “Obviously the initial thinking is: ‘Premier League, let me go’. But when you sit down and really think about it and I spoke to people close to me, I feel it’s the right decision to be here.
“I believe in myself so I believe one day maybe I will get to the top of the Premier League or even the top of the Scottish league. Bit by bit.
“I feel that here, I am more likely, if I do well, to play a lot of games in difficult circumstances. I am here with coaches who want to make me better week in, week out and the facilities are equal to that of Premier League and Championship level.
“That really grasped me. At my age and stage of my career, games are really important, so I thought it better to come here and work hard rather than go somewhere and maybe not play as much.”
The versatile midfielder – who played 26 times in a four-month loan spell at Gillingham last season – became more and more convinced he was making the right decision after doing his research on Hearts and management team Levein and Austin MacPhee.
“I know it’s a massive club, I have known that for years,” he said. “The fans are very passionate and create great atmospheres at all the games, not just home ones.
“And then I came up and saw the management staff. I am really looking forward about working with them and them making me better. They have a great track record of really pushing young players and making them loads better than they were. That’s all what I want to be, better than yesterday, every day to be better.
“Playing in front of fans who want 100 per cent effort from players and working with coaching staff who want to make you better, it was a no-brainer.
“And then the area is great and I looked a bit more into the history of the club and it really grasped me.”
Clare has returned to fitness after suffering a stress fracture of his foot and is looking to be involved when Livingston visit Tynecastle on Saturday.
“I am ready to play, very, very close to being fully match-fit, injury completely fine,” he said.
“I just have to work as hard as I can in training, keep improving and when I get my chance take it. The boys have done really well so it’s not going to be easy but I would rather the boys do well than be struggling.”
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