Hearts boss ‘thrilled’ to complete loan deal as Naismith’s unsuccessful City career comes to an end

Steven Naismith is unlikely to play for Norwich City again after re-joining Hearts on loan Picture:

Steven Naismith is unlikely to play for Norwich City again after re-joining Hearts on loan Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Steven Naismith's Norwich City career looks to have come to an end today after a season-long loan return to Hearts was confirmed.

The loan will take the 31-year-old Scotland international forward through to the end of his Canaries contract in the summer of 2019.

After finding himself surplus to requirements at Carrow Road under head coach Daniel Farke the Scot joined the Edinburgh club on loan during the January transfer window, making 16 appearances and scoring four goals.

He made just three appearances for the Canaries following Farke's appointment as manager last summer, taking his tally to 48, with eight goals scored, since joining the club from Everton for a reported £8.5m fee in January 2016.

Naismith is thought to be one of the highest earners at the club but it is unclear what percentage of his earnings Hearts will be covering.

MORE: Naismith and Norfolk – it just didn't work out for City's big-money signing

Naismith said: 'It was an easy decision, really. It was more about when we were getting it done, rather than if, which is pleasing.

'It feels great to be a Hearts player once again. I'm glad it all got sorted sooner rather than later.

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'The uncertainty over the summer isn't enjoyable as a footballer.

'All round, all parties did what they could to get it done as quickly as possible and I'm delighted to start work.'

Hearts finished sixth in the Scottish Premiership last season, 33 points adrift of champions Celtic. Naismith, capped 45 times by Scotland, could return to action in a friendly against Partick Thistle on Sunday if international clearance is given in time.

Hearts boss Craig Levein, speaking to his club's website, continued: 'I'm thrilled. It's not just the fact that he's a really good player, he's got a great work ethic and he's got great talent as well.

'He's a very, very useful addition and he did well for us last season.

'I had a chat with him at the end of the season and he felt that he had a bit of an interrupted preparation for the season and things didn't go great at the beginning with Norwich, so he didn't really start playing competitively until he came to us in January.

'I think he was getting better towards the end of the season.

'I feel that we've got a bit of time yet in this pre-season to get him up to speed.'

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