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Hearts boost their defensive options

Dundee United FC Headshots 2020/2021 – Tannadice Park
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

Hearts have added two new defenders to their squad after announcing the signings of Lewis Neilson and Kye Rowles on Thursday.

Australia international Rowles, 23, and 19-year-old Neilson have joined the Tynecastle club on three-year contracts after signing from Central Coast Mariners and Dundee United respectively.

Manager Robbie Neilson is excited about the recruitment of both players.

Rowles began his professional career with Brisbane Roar in 2016 before moving on a year later to join Mariners, where he racked up 107 appearances. The centre-back recently broke into the Socceroos team and played in their World Cup play-off win over UAE on Tuesday.

“This is an exciting transfer for us and one that everyone has worked really hard to get over the line,” manager Neilson told the Jambos’ website.

“Kye has a fantastic reputation over in Australia and his talent has seen him rise to the top of the game.

“To get another international player in the door is a big coup and I’m really looking forward to working with him.

“Hearts is the perfect place for Kye to continue his development and I believe he is someone who can help improve the team.”

Teenager Neilson can play at right-back or centre-back and his namesake new manager is looking forward to working with him again after they first crossed paths at Tannadice. He moves to Tynecastle after rejecting the chance to sign a new contract at United.

“Lewis is someone I’ve known for a while as he was coming through the ranks at Dundee United when I was manager there,” said Jambos boss Neilson.

“Even back then you could see his potential and he’s continued to improve, so I’m delighted that we’ve been able to bring him to Hearts.

“He’s a very quick and strong player with all the attributes needed to make it at the top level, and I’m sure Hearts will provide the perfect environment for Lewis to work hard, develop and take his career forward.”

Hearts have now made three close-season signings after winger Alan Forrest joined from Livingston last week.

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