Heart of Midlothian star Calem Nieuwenhof could be denied the chance to represent Australia U23s in their Paris 2024 Olympics qualifiers. 

Calem Nieuwenhof, 23, had proved a hit since making the summer switch from Western Sydney Wanderers. The midfielder has made 29 appearances including several influential recent showings that have helped Hearts go 11 points clear of Kilmarnock in third as they target a best of the rest Scottish Premiership finish. 

And that's why Jam Tarts head coach Steven Naismith would be so reluctant to allow Nieuwenhof to divert his attention away from club football at a vital time in the season. 

Australia's youth side have an international triple-header in April as the AFC U-23 Championships begin. The tournament will also include a passageway into this summer's Olympics. They take on Jordan on April 15, Indonesia on April 18 before facing Qatar on April 21 - the same day Hearts are scheduled to go head-to-head with Rangers in the Scottish Cup semi-finals at Hampden Park. 

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So, despite Nieuwenhof even earning shouts of a senior call-up, Naismith believes the Aussie is too valuable for Hearts to lose him. 

He admitted: "I'm not sure. We'd have too many big games coming up at that point. He's been valuable for us. I'm not sure that's something we could sanction, really.”