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He has more in him – Hibs boss Lee Johnson looking to get best out of Elie Youan

Lee Johnson is encouraged by Hibs’ attacking options (Richard Sellers/PA)
Lee Johnson is encouraged by Hibs’ attacking options (Richard Sellers/PA)

Hibernian manager Lee Johnson is excited about the prospect of developing Elie Youan into a complete central striker.

The 23-year-old, who moved to Easter Road this summer on a season-long loan from St Gallen, set up Martin Boyle’s stoppage-time equaliser for the Hibees in Sunday’s 1-1 draw at home to city rivals Hearts.

Johnson still believes the pacy Frenchman has plenty scope to improve and is determined to see him excel as the focal point of the attack.

“I think he has more in him, I really do,” said Johnson. “The lads need to understand how quick he is.

“There was a good opportunity in the first half when Ewan Henderson had drawn the full-back deeper to slide him in, and Joe Newell had one where he needed a better trajectory and (Youan) was in. He has proper pace, pure speed and agility.

“I think managers have always moved him wide but I’m going to persist in him playing in that number nine and develop him and teach him what he needs.”

Johnson is intent on making Hibs a more threatening team than they were last season and he is encouraged by the attacking options now available to him with the talismanic Boyle having returned to Easter Road after seven months at Saudi Arabian club Al Faisaly.

“We have those flash moments in our team because of the pace of some players,” he said. “Elias Melkersen is quick and agile, Elie Youan, Martin Boyle, Jair Tavares, they are all quick and agile, and that presents a threat and means the footballers in our team can start dominating games a bit more.”

Boyle was introduced as a 62nd-minute substitute on Sunday for what was his first match in six weeks. Johnson is confident he will soon be ready to play from the start.

“I was probably thinking we’d get 20 minutes (against Hearts) and I would have been happy with that but with Josh Campbell going off and being 1-0 down, we had to throw caution to the wind,” said Johnson.

“He is a light player, fleet-footed, and the way he moves across the ground, players like that are quicker to come through fitness-wise than the 6ft 4ins target man. I don’t expect it to be too long, maybe two weeks before he will be ready for 90 minutes.

“We have a really good sports science team here so we will get his journey mapped out well and get him starting as quickly as possible.