London Hearts Supporters Club

Report Index--> 2012-13--> All for 20130317
<-Page <-Team Sun 17 Mar 2013 St Mirren 3 Hearts 2 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Herald ------ Preview Type-> Srce->
Gary Locke <-auth Stewart Fisher auth-> Craig Thomson
[E Goncalves 37] ;[S Thompson 46] ;[C Newton 66]
28 of 136 Ryan Stevenson 10 ;Ryan Stevenson 85LC N

Hearts' Michael Ngoo can draw upon final experiences with Liverpool

Stewart Fisher
Sports Writer
Wednesday 13 March 2013

MICHAEL NGOO was tutored in the finer points of the striking art by King Kenny.

But he could so easily have been schooled by Sir Alex instead. The lanky on-loan Londoner, who will lead the line for Hearts in Sunday's final, yesterday recalled scoring as a teenager as Manchester United triumphed in the final of the prestigious Milk Cup in Northern Ireland, only for him to find himself promptly persuaded to throw his lot in with their Lancashire arch rivals Liverpool.

"I scored in the final against Sheffield United and set up the other in a 2-1 win and it was nice to be part of a successful final," Ngoo recalled. "Paul Pogba, Ravel Morrison, Will Keane and Joshua King were there – some young players who all have featured for the United first team – so it was a good experience. They wanted to sign me but I ended up choosing Liverpool.

"I never spoke to Sir Alex [Ferguson] but Kenny [Dalglish] was a big influence as academy manager at Liverpool. We had a lot of conversations and he even used to come out and train with us from time to time, he was always around and passing on great advice for us all. He was absolute quality in training. He would always have a laugh and a joke, but when he starts doing the tricks and skills you could see how good he was. Even now he knows the way to goal, he hasn't lost that. That kind of quality never leaves."

Ngoo has made sufficient waves during his brief spell in Scotland to be linked with a £2m move to Celtic, but while his brawny style of play might not necessarily fit with Brendan Rodgers' passing aesthetic, the youngster still has cause to hope his 6ft 5in frame and surprising prowess on the ground could make him a plausible option when chasing a game. Whatever transpires this summer, a decent showing at Hampden on Sunday in his first senior final would hardly hurt his cause.

"Maybe Brendan might also be looking for other things in his team, such as height and strength, so hopefully I have done enough to be considered one of the young players in his plans for next season," Ngoo said. "There are different reasons he could put me in. I am glad that I have been a challenge for very good defenders in my first ever top flight run-in. I am still young, and if I keep working and practicing then I could be a Plan B for Liverpool."

Ngoo is actually a West Ham United fan who originally hails from Southend, but he has bought in to the Liverpool ethos wholeheartedly; he displayed a T-shirt message asking for justice for the victims of the Hillsborough disaster after one goal at Under-21 level. While Sunday is his first authentic exposure of a major cup final, he certainly got a taster course in the joy and despair such days can bring whilst on the fringes of the Merseysiders' squad last season.

The 20-year-old travelled to London for the club's twin visits to Wembley, the Carling Cup final bringing the relief of victory on penalty kicks against Cardiff City, before the FA Cup took its revenge with defeat by Chelsea. "All the reserve players went to watch everything and celebrated with the boys afterwards, so it was good but it is not the same as playing," said Ngoo of the first triumph. "It will be very different on Sunday at Hampden and I need to step up to the mark. Of course I wanted to be out there, every player wants to experience that sort of big game and big occasion. But I had to acknowledge the fact I am young and still learning the game and trying to get experience.

"It is good to learn from good players and going to big games. You need to soak up everything those players do and apply it when you get your own chance. They travelled back because the league was still going on and we celebrated on the way back on the train. We passed the cup around, there was a bit of champagne and everyone was taking pictures and singing. The FA Cup was not as successful. Seeing the senior players feeling down was difficult, you want the best for them and the club, so we all felt that. You have to try and think 'what went wrong?'"

Only at Hearts could a cup final week be dominated by the fact that it remains unclear whether Peter Houston or any other new manager could be parachuted into the technical area pre-match, but the longer the week draws on the more unlikely that prospect becomes. Gary Locke had luck on his side when Leigh Griffiths' 'goal' was disallowed on Sunday, but in all likelihood he will inherit the privilege of chasing the club's first league cup win for more than half a century and the not inconsiderable feat of back-to-back trophy wins.

Taken from the Herald

<-Page <-Team Sun 17 Mar 2013 St Mirren 3 Hearts 2 Team-> Page->
| Home | Contact Us | Credits | © |