Top Line Summary

  • Why Lembikisa swapped Rotherham for Hearts
  • His long-term development and Wolves aspirations
  • Facing Andy Robertson and Liverpool in the FA Cup
  • Why he considers himself to be a forward-thinking full-back

New Heart of Midlothian signing Dexter Lembikisa met the press ahead of his likely debut against The Spartans in the Scottish Cup on Saturday. Here's everything the left-back had to say.

How are you settling in?

Good, man. It’s a nice city so it has been good. But it’s cold! I’m getting used to it.

What was the biggest attraction about coming here?

I’d say it was how they’re doing. They are third so you know that they are doing well and they are attacking well. And of course, Hearts are a big Scottish club.

Had you seen much of Scottish football? Do you know much about it?

Yeah, not much. I knew a few teams - Celtic, Rangers, Hearts, Motherwell, but I didn’t know too much.

READ MORE: Pace, 1v1 quality, Andy Robertson experience: New Hearts signing Dexter Lembikisa

You were playing every week at Rotherham, so what was the thought process behind the move?

The club want me to showcase my attacking side. Where Rotherham were in the table, it was harder for me to get forward and show my attacking side.

How did you find that loan spell?

It was good. It was my first loan as well so it was a good experience. There was a lot of learning and I am thankful for that, so I enjoyed it.

If Wolves wanted you to change clubs, that shows they are invested in your future?

It always helps when the staff are trying to help you and I think it’s good that they want to support me and develop another side of my game as well.

Did you speak to the manager or was it mainly the loan staff?

It was mainly the loan staff but I did speak with the manager briefly. But it is mainly the loan team who look after the loan players.

Do you have designs on breaking into the Wolves first team? How far away do you think you are at the moment?

I don’t know. Anything can happen but I just want to focus on playing my football and doing as best as I can do and continue to improve my game. I don’t really think about that. If it comes, it comes but I just need to keep doing what I’m doing.

Have you seen enough here to encourage you that you will get to play the football you want?

Yeah, definitely. When the gaffer was speaking to me, he said that the team like to keep the ball, play out at the back and have a lot of the ball in games. It is good to see that.

Does it help that the manager went from the Scottish top flight to the English top flight as a player?

Yeah, definitely. That helps because he has lived it and experienced it and he has a lot of wisdom. He can pass that on to me and I can use that in my career.

You’ve already had taste of first-team football with Wolves against Liverpool in FA Cup – how was it playing against Andy Robertson?

That was amazing to be fair. It was a dream to play professional football and to do it at Anfield was even better. It was a good introduction and I definitely enjoyed that. That gave me the boost to keep on going and to try to get regular first-team football.

READ MORE: 'It's been such a journey': Inside Spartans' rise and Hearts cup tie preparations

You’ve had a taste for it now, does that make you more determined to get back to that stage?

Yeah, definitely. One hundred per cent.

Spartans will be a very different opponent to Liverpool. Does it feel strange to come up here for big games and you’re playing against minnows in a cup tie?

It’s not really that different. I just see it as football. Every game is one where I need to prove myself and one where you need to play to high standard and to do your best. If there’s a game that you can win by loads of goals, do it. If it’s a game that’s harder, have the same attitude. I just like to enjoy my football. Just like when I was younger, just enjoy playing football. In any game I will do the best I can.

Do you see yourself as an attacking, forward-thinking full-back?

Definitely but I am a good defender also 1v1. I like to get forward and I enjoy attacking. When I was younger I played a bit higher, so I like joining attacks and creating.