Hearts defender James Hill is determined to keep making all the sacrifices he can to realise his dream of establishing himself as a Premier League player.
The 21-year-old moved to Edinburgh on loan from Bournemouth in January and has played six times in Robbie Neilson’s defence.
Hill played more than 50 first-team games with Fleetwood before earning a move to the south coast 12 months ago but he jumped at the chance of moving to Scotland and testing himself in the cinch Premiership when other young players in England would rather stay where they are.
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s trip to Motherwell, Hill said: “It’s a massive jump coming to Scotland because you are miles away from your family. That’s a sacrifice you have to make, moving away from your family, and that’s probably why people don’t look at the Scottish league that much.
“I am young and I have not seen my family since Christmas. I am moving further away but this is to pursue a dream. I want to get to the Premier League and provide for everyone and this is the sacrifice I have to make for a lot of glory, I hope, in the end.
“I signed here on my 21st birthday. People say your 21st is supposed to be one of your best birthdays ever, going away with your friends or family with a big party and lots of presents. I was sat in a hotel room waiting for training the next day.
“I went downstairs and had a cheeky sticky toffee pudding on my own, but that was about it. These are the sacrifices you are going to have to make.”
Making sacrifices to further your career is something Hill learned from his father, Matt Hill, who played for the likes of Bristol City, Preston, Wolves, QPR, Sheffield United and Tranmere.
“My dad is really busy as well so when I do get time to get back home he is pretty much working from half seven in the morning to 11 o’clock at night,” the centre-back said.
“He is a PE teacher at school and will then go from there to either managing Stafford Rangers or he coaches at Blackpool in the afternoon.
“These are the sacrifices you have to make, he is working hard as well.
“My brother (Tyler) is at Blackpool, he is a scholar in the under-18s, so I don’t get to see him because he is stepping into that journey. And my sister is following her own path as well, she will be going to college soon and off to uni.”
Hill is looking to continue developing his game for the rest of his loan spell but does not envisage winding down in the summer.
“At some point you will get the five weeks off but even then I am out running and trying to get to different countries to see specialists and working even harder and see if I can get to the potential of a Premier League player,” he said.
“It’s just how it has to be, it’s a short career. I can’t miss out on a second because if I am chilling out and going off to see my family there is probably another player who is making the sacrifice who is getting ahead of me. I can’t let that happen.”