‘Money doesn’t matter so much now. I’ve been fortunate enough that I have done well and got some good moves’ - Steven Naismith just wants to play

Steven Naismith swapped Norwich City for a loan move to Hearts. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Image

Steven Naismith swapped Norwich City for a loan move to Hearts. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Steven Naismith admits he is playing for the love of the game at Hearts after some big-money moves.

The on-loan Norwich City midfielder has failed to live up to his billing at Carrow Road, following a reported £8.5m move from Everton in January 2016.

The Scottish international was desperate to get away in last month's January window after a bit-part role under Daniel Farke.

Naismith attracted interest from the Championship, as well as north of the border, but swelling his bank balance was not the motivation.

'Money doesn't matter so much now,' he said, in the Edinburgh Evening News.

'I've been fortunate enough that I've done well and got some good moves so it is now more about enjoying it.

'The fact that one day you will wake up and not be able to play football any more becomes foremost in your thoughts so it's about getting back playing and enjoying it.

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'I think the bigger factor as you get older is there is more to think about with moves. There's family life and my daughter starting school and things like that so it's not as straightforward as when you're a young guy making it in the game when you'd just go wherever you think is going to progress your career.

'The biggest thing is just being desperate to get back training with the promise of a game at the end of the week.

'Since I've come back from injury it's been frustrating. It's probably the first time in my career that I've experienced a situation where I'm not even considered by the manager, so it has been challenging.

'But I have used the time well in the gym to get a good routine so that I was ready for whenever a move happened so I'm in a good place.'

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Naismith, also speaking to BBC Scotland, was touted with old clubs Kilmarnock and Rangers but revealed Hearts made the running.

'Clubs will say, 'yes we are interested, but it is maybe not something we want to do straightaway, we need to wait and see',' he said. 'I would probably put (Rangers) in that bracket.

'Nothing ever came of it. When Hearts came in, they showed their hand and said to Norwich, 'this is what we want to do, this is what we can offer'. They wanted to hear back, with some deadlines, so I had some decisions to make.

'At that moment, I thought Hearts was definitely the best opportunity for me.

'Since I have been there, it has been fantastic.'