Ryan Porteous: How Shaun Maloney hopes to keep Hibs defending on straight and narrow towards international stardom

The Easter Road club will be without the defender against Dundee United on Saturday and then against Hearts the following week as he embarks on a four-game ban. It comes at a bad time, as the Leith side try to bag the points needed to ensure a place in the top six when the league splits in two next weekend and although he will return for the Scottish Cup semi-final he will then sit out two of the final five league matches and Maloney recognizes the impact that he could have on performances and results.

Praising Porteous’ ability, and still disappointed that the appeal of the red card he picked up against Aberdeen last time out was discounted, the Hibs boss said that it was his job to work with his player to help him “keep that emotional level as neutral as possible”.

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“From Ryan’s point of view, at times in games his levels have been really high. He just needs to keep that emotional level as neutral as possible.

Hibs manager Shaun Maloney (left) believes Ryan Porteous can become an established international. (Photo by Paul Devlin/SNS Group)

“When he played Hearts here he produced a center back performance as good as anything in the league. But within that game-the biggest game for this club-his emotional level of him stayed the same.

“That’s something we need to work on together. If I have him available for every game then it does have a big impact on performances and results.

“He is receptive to that. Ryan is an intelligent guy. People might have perceptions of him but my perception is that he’s intelligent and really open to learning different things.

“I believe if he stays with us next season and beyond then he will improve. He already has in the three months we have been here.

“He has a good work rate. Physically he can improve, if he does all these things then I believe he can be a top international defender. It’s up to me to help him get there.”

One of the most utilized Hibs players this term, there have been set-backs on and off the field, with many opposition players and fans keen to paint him as a pantomime villain but his gaffer has backed him to alter opinions, provided he stays focused .

“I think there is a perception of him. But that’s part and parcel of being a professional footballer.

“Performances when he gets back from this suspension and next season will dictate that perception. As well as his behavior off the pitch.

“If he takes care of all that I believe we will see a really top defender. I have to support him but at the same time we have things to improve on.

“There are certain moments as a center back, for all players… there has to be a consistent level. I’m not saying don’t be competitive or show that to your support but we need to show a different type of performance.

“We have to trust what we are trying to do. That’s what I’m trying to get through to the team – in the biggest moments we need to still try to play under the most pressure.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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