Aidan Denholm namechecks Cammy Devlin as the Heart of Midlothian star he resembles most on the pitch, revealing the Australian midfielder has been helping him learn how to conserve energy during games.

It is Barrie McKay, however, who has been the biggest influence during the 20-year-old's first season as a first-team player at Tynecastle Park.

Denholm has made 23 appearances this campaign, the majority coming from the bench, and has showcased an eagerness to make an impact and get around the pitch. 

READ MORE: What being a first-team player at Hearts has taught Aidan Denholm - Q&A

"I’ve learned a lot," he said of his first season, both on and off the pitch, including being recognised and getting stopped for a selfie outside a Scotmid. McKay, the club's experienced playmaker, has played an important role in that learning.

"He is quite quiet but he's been different class with me," Denholm said. "He’s taken me away for coffees outside of football and kept me really grounded. He’s told me that football can change like that, that there can be highs and lows, but you need to make sure you are enjoying it.

"I'm a Hearts fan so I want to enjoy it and not just get caught up in it. All of the boys have been different class and the young players here would say the same. There is a great vibe in the dressing room, they make you feel like a first-team player and not just a young boy. That’s different from where I’ve been and it’s amazing."

Denholm feels in a good place to kick on. He'll take a holiday with his partner before "getting right back into it". McKay has already helped with his preparation for returning to pre-season in the best shape possible, recommending a coach who will provide training tailored to professional footballers.

"I have an outside coach and again that was thanks to Barrie," he explained. "He put me in touch with him. It’s more about not training to be a bodybuilder, it’s about training as a proper footballer while also getting that side of it. That’s all new to me as well.

READ MORE: Behind the scenes with Cammy Devlin: From a day at training to improving at golf

"I want to come back from the off-season and hit the ground running because last pre-season was huge for me with getting let go and then coming back. I felt like I had something to prove but now I feel like I’ve got even more to prove. I’ve shown fans little glimpses of what I can do but I know there is more. I do need to chill and relax but after that I’ll be back to it."

He added: "It's not about pushing heavy weights at ridiculous numbers, it's about getting into the frame of a footballer. James Wilson came on against Dundee at the weekend and he's put on a lot of weight and has shown he can handle men's football now. Macaulay [Tait] also doesn't get pushed around and it shows that the young boys are taking it seriously. There is a lot I can improve on – sharpness-wise, I believe I can get quicker."