Hickey, who made his senior professional debut for Hearts in the previous campaign against Aberdeen, became the youngest player since John Fleck in 2008 to start in the Scottish Cup final when he featured in Craig Levein’s starting eleven against Celtic, aged 16 at that time.
The teenager put up an inspired display against James Forrest in the final and, although Hearts went on to lose the game, Hickey’s courageous and energetic performance against one of the division’s best wingers caught the attention of City manager Pep Guardiola. (h/t Scottish Sun)
Hickey received a red card in his club’s 3-2 defeat at the hands of Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership season-opener at the start of the month but the highly-rated starlet has impressed in the subsequent fixtures, accumulating a total of 6 appearances in all competitions thus far.
The Scotland U-17 international is held in high regard at Tynecastle Park and has been tipped by many to evolve into one of the top homegrown players in the future.
However, he might not get a chance to do so, with Man City and Southampton circling around like sharks to prise him away from his boyhood club.
Well, Hickey is hardly one of the established players north of the border but City and Southampton must have seen something extraordinary in the youngster that has prompted them to pursue a keen interest in his progress.
And it won’t come as a massive surprise if the 17-year-old does, indeed, complete a move to the Premier League in January.
To put things into perspective, Southampton should do everything in their power to convince the talented teenager to snub a move to the Etihad in favour of a switch to the English south coast.
Hickey, though still young and raw, looks like a real talent at this stage of his career and the Saints might relish having him in their ranks if he goes on to fulfil his potential at St. Mary’s in the years to come.
Ralph Hasenhuttl has brought about a big change at Southampton, with the Austrian showing a clear inclination to build a squad in his own image by recruiting some quality young talent from across the continent.
The manager splashed the cash to bolster his ranks with the acquisition of youngsters like Che Adams, Moussa Djenepo and Kevin Danso in the summer window and the arrival of Hickey could offer him some valuable depth in a key area of the pitch.
Southampton are currently a bit light in their left-back options following the sale of Matt Target to Aston Villa and, while Ryan Bertrand is expected to shoulder the responsibilities in that role, it is worth mentioning here that the former England international is already 30.
With that in mind, the Saints should look for some much-needed back-up in that position, preferably a young and promising player who could possibly take over the reins from the veteran in about two or three years.
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Young, talented and blessed with potential, Aaron Hickey perfectly fits the bill of players that Hasenhuttl likes to raid the market for and one would expect the Scottish prodigy to make the step up to the Premier League in due course of time.
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