'Graft, culture, silk' – What Jeff Hendrick can add to Newcastle United's midfield

Jeff Hendrick is an ‘outstanding technician’ who can ‘grab a game by the scruff of the neck’ – but is yet to really show that in the Premier League.

Thursday, 20th August 2020, 1:34 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th August 2020, 1:39 pm
Burnley's Irish midfielder Jeff Hendrick (C) controls the ball during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Burnley at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on February 15, 2020.

Newcastle United have an offer on the table for the Republic of Ireland midfielder, with many outlets suggesting Hendrick is close to putting pen to paper on a lengthy deal on Tyneside.

And Burnley Express writer Chris Boden believes the Magpies will be getting a supremely talented player, who will add graft and silk to the United midfield, if the deal gets done.

But who, in four years at Turf Moor, failed to hit the heights expected of the player who shone for his country in Euro 2016 and with Derby County in the Championship.

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“Jeff is an outstanding player technically with very good feet – but we’ve just not seen enough of it,” said the Burnley FC writer.

"There is a real player there with Jeff but he has been a bit of a Marmite figure with Burnley fans. It is hard to remember him really having an absolutely stand out game. He scored some lovely goals and his attitude and graft has been second to none. But I do feel a little disappointed by his time at Burnley – I don’t think we have ever seen the best of him.

"When watching him for the Republic of Ireland, he has shown the ability to grab the game by the scruff of the neck from the middle but he’s not really been used like that with Burnley.”

With the deal edging closer – and a new contract looking like being sorted out with Matty Longstaff – United fans are wondering where 28-year-old Hendrick will fit into the the Magpies’ mix.

“For Burnley he was mainly played in a narrow role on the right towards the end but he was a No10 in the year they finished 7th,” said Boden.

"For Ireland he has played in a central two and done well in the box-to-box to role but when he was in the centre of a midfield four for Burnley he didn’t impress half as much.

"He has been used as a bit of a versatile midfielder, a jack of all trades at times – and I think going to Newcastle he will want assurances he will be playing in the middle, which is his preferred role.

"The main thing with Jeff is that despite the fitness, the defensive work, the good feet and the graft, he hasn’t kicked on at Burnley, hasn’t scored enough or created enough."

He added: “Burnley are very much about the quick transitions, the counter – so I think Hendrick will fit in well with the way Newcastle set up under Steve Bruce.”

What Sean Dyche said about Jeff Hendrick

On Hendrick’s exit: “It wasn’t up to what Jeff and his advisers thought was appropriate.

“That’s the reality of life in Burnley. It is difficult.

“I did chuckle the other night when I read that it’s the first time I’ve questioned the board in seven and a half years. I think most boards would be happy to only be questioned once in that time. Fair play to myself for only questioning them once in every seven and a half years.

“There are certain ways that we work here that are difficult. It usually revolves around finance. I know the financial standing of the club and I know how good it is, which is why it is tough sometimes.”

On his need to add more goals: “People have questioned him at times but they forget that we use him all over the place.

“We use him right side, in the middle, he has played at number 10.

“He is so honest and it was nice to see him pop up with a good goal and one that he will remember.

“He has not got too many but I think there is goals in him.”