Hearts: Craig Levein keen to for Aaron Hughes to sign new deal

Hearts and Northern Ireland defender Aaron Hughes
Craig Levein says Aaron Hughes has been "an inspiration" off the field

Craig Levein says he would be happy for Hearts defender Aaron Hughes to remain at the club next season.

Levein says the Northern Ireland international, who is out of contract in the summer, has been an important addition in the dressing room.

The 38-year-old former Newcastle and Fulham player signed a short-term deal at Tynecastle in January.

"He hasn't just added solidity on the field he has been an inspiration off the field," said manager Levein.

"I haven't had a conversation with Aaron yet but my view on it would be if he is willing to continue [then yes].

'Tap into his knowledge'

"The professionalism he shows shines through in everything he does. He has been a huge plus for us.

"It's not tangible, the off the field stuff, but it has been excellent - particularly for the young players to have the opportunity to tap into his knowledge."

Levein said he has used Hughes' experience when trying to attract young players to the Edinburgh club.

"When speaking to parents of a young lad talking about these players who have been through everything that could possibly happen in a footballing career," the Hearts boss added.

"To have a player in the building that has that experience and for the young kid not to tap into that is a waste. It's important that the kids recognise that they are there to help."

Levein, who is preparing for Saturday's home game with Aberdeen, hinted that Hughes could be a success in management once his playing career ends.

"A lot of players when they come to the tail end of their feel they can move into the coaching or management side of things," said Levein.

"Do I think Aaron is capable of that? Yes, of course. I haven't had that particular conversation with him. We will talk about football and whether he wants to keep going for another year an we will see where it takes us."

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