Conor Washington: Northern Ireland forward joins Hearts after Sheffield United exit

Conor Washington
Conor Washington has four goals in 20 caps for Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland forward Conor Washington hopes to rediscover what "I haven't done enough of" recently after joining Hearts - scoring goals.

The 27-year-old, who has signed a two-year contract, was released by Sheffield United after a season without finding the net for the English club.

But he hopes working under national assistant Austin MacPhee at Tynecastle will change all that.

"I'll bring pace, power, desire to get in behind, hopefully goals," he said.

"It's been a tough few years for me personally. I think last year I played about a combined 600 minutes of football at club level, which is just not enough for the player that I am."

Washington signed for Queens Park Rangers in a deal reportedly worth £3m from Peterborough United in 2016.

But, after he made six appearances at the start of last season, the London club agreed a mutual termination of his contract a year early so he could join their Championship rivals.

He went to play 16 times, only three of them starts, as the Blades won promotion to the Premier League and his equaliser for Northern Ireland in this month's 2-1 Euro 2020 qualifying win over Estonia was his first goal since finding the net for QPR in February 2018.

Hearts point out that the striker, born in Chatham, England, and who started his career with St Ives Town before moving on to Newport County, retains a "goals-to-minutes-played ratio equalling one strike every three games".

"I have a very good relationship with Austin MacPhee and I've heard very good things about the manager," Washington said.

"I'm hoping a fresh start and working under a manager who believes in what I can do will see me reap the benefits."

Washington said he also consulted Northern Ireland team-mates Michael Smith, who remains at Tynecastle, and defender Aaron Hughes, who has just ended his career with Hearts.

"It's an enormous club," he said. "As soon as Austin suggested it, I went to my agent and did a bit of background research and it just seems like an absolutely perfect fit, especially to work under the manager and with Austin as well.

"Michael Smith and Aaron Hughes also had nothing but good things to say about the club. They all played a big part in me joining.

"The standard of Scottish football is a lot higher than most people give it credit for and I'm looking forward to testing myself against some really good teams."

Washington, who becomes Hearts' second summer signing after the arrival of centre-back Craig Halkett from Livingston, is a replacement for David Vanecek, who had his contract terminated after a disappointing six months at Tynecastle, and Republic of Ireland striker Conor Sammon, released after loan spells with Kilmarnock, Partick Thistle and Motherwell.

Find all the latest football transfers on our dedicated page.

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