Early indications of Perry Kitchen’s play in Scotland were very, very good. Hearts fans loved his ability to stick into a tackle and control the field, taking charge of the midfield and balancing the team in possession. I don’t know how many people could have predicted that Kitchen would impress enough to become the club’s captain in under a season, though.
That is a particularly meteoric rise in a club that, while not playing in a good league (the Scottish Premier League might be entertaining but it’s best team nearly lost to a semi-pro team from Gibraltar in Champions League qualifying, so let’s get real), does have ambitions. Hearts sit second in Scotland behind Celtic, and were eliminated from Europa League competition while Kitchen nursed an injury. So, yeah. It’s not like he was just named the captain of Manchester City, but at the same time, he’s stepped up in a big way and took over the leadership reigns of an old club with European qualification firmly in their sights and close proximity to better leagues. As close as you can get. He’s technically playing in the same country as Zlatan.
Ultimately, this is important because this is exactly the type of thing Jurgen Klinsmann has said he wants his players to do: seek challenges, leave the comforts of home behind, and become better for it. Perry Kitchen has made the most of his shot in Scotland. Let’s see what comes of it.