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Page last updated at 10:38 GMT, Friday, 22 May 2009 11:38 UK

Hearts' Neilson joins Leicester

Hearts defender Robbie Neilson
Right-back Neilson has been with Hearts for 13 years

Leicester have completed the signing of Hearts full-back Robbie Neilson on a three-year deal.

The 28-year-old, capped once for Scotland, leaves Tynecastle after serving the club for 13 years.

"On meeting with Robbie, his leadership qualities were obvious," Foxes manager Nigel Pearson told the club website.

"He will bring quality, experience and a winning mentality, all of which we have no doubt will enhance our squad for the season ahead."

Neilson took over the captaincy at Hearts in January once Christophe Berra had been sold to Wolves and the defender helped steer the Edinburgh club to a third place finish in the Scottish Premier League.

Manager Csaba Laszlo had hoped to persuade the defender to stay at the Edinburgh club but, despite protracted negotiations, a deal was never agreed.

"It's an extremely difficult decision to leave a club which has been such an influence on my career and Tynecastle will always hold a special place in my heart," Neilson told the club's website.

"I'd like to wish Hearts every success in the future and hope the club continues to progress to the ultimate goal of league glory."

Also leaving Hearts in the summer are Christos Karapidis, who is to join Omonia Nicosia, and Bruno Aguiar, who has rejected the offer of a new contract.

And Hearts winger Andrew Driver has urged the club's owner, Vladimir Romanov, to invest in replacements.

"Hopefully Mr Romanov will give funds to the manager. There is no use resting on our laurels after finishing third," said the 21-year-old.

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"Players like Robbie are a massive influence on the team.

"He is the captain and one of the most experienced players and then you have Bruno, who can win you games.

"The team this year has had a lot of young players and shown a bit of naivety at times, so we need a little experience, especially if we are to play two games per week next season after qualifying for Europe."

Driver, who is poised to be called into the England Under-21 squad for the forthcoming friendly against Azerbaijan, has also been the subject of interest from English clubs.

But he remains under contract and gave no indication of having thoughts of joining the departures from Tynecastle while looking forward to a future in international football with the country of his birth.

"It's something I have always aimed for," said Driver, who had previously been courted by Scotland but fails to qualify under present rules.

"I can just cross my fingers and hope, but I am enjoying my football and like Edinburgh.

Hearts must invest in team - Driver

"It is up to the money men if they want rid of me, but I am happy here and it would have to be a very good offer to take me away."

Hearts manager Csaba Laszlo is set for talks with Romanov this weekend.

"We must think about what we do in the next two to three weeks," he said.

"We are in third position - for me, a fantastic result. We go to the Europa League in a very good position. I think we must play only one tie before the groups (if Rangers win the Scottish Cup).

"So we must build for the future. I need to talk with the board."



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see also
Nade aims to play before surgery
21 May 09 |  Hearts
Cervi set to complete Celtic move
20 May 09 |  Celtic
Old Firm courting Hearts' Aguiar
19 May 09 |  Hearts
Driver set for England U21 call
15 May 09 |  Hearts
Zaliukas extends Tynecastle stay
09 May 09 |  Hearts


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