Jeff Hendrick: The shining light as Newcastle United crash out of Carabao Cup to Burnley

Newcastle United exited the Carabao Cup last night after a disappointing 4-3 loss on penalties to fellow Premier League side Burnley.

Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin were the unfortunate pair to miss for Newcastle on a night which promised much, but delivered very little.

Pre-match, Steve Bruce said: "We will take the cup seriously, like I always have done since I have been here.”

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However, the Newcastle boss made nine changes from Saturday’s game against Aston Villa with only goalkeeper Freddie Woodman and captain Jamaal Lascelles keeping their place.

Jeff Hendrick was one of the few players to star in Newcastle United's Carabao Cup clash against Burnley at St James's Park. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

On a disappointing night for Newcastle, one man was able to stake his claim for a starting-spot against Southampton on Saturday.

That man was Jeff Hendrick - arguably United’s best player last night against his former side.

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Hendrick played most of the game in centre-midfield as he and Ryan Fraser often bombed on and joined in attacks, leaving Sean Longstaff to mop-up behind.

Every chance in the first-half seemed to go through Hendrick with his rasping-drive at goal early-on the closest Newcastle came to opening the scoring.

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Hendrick certainly should have grabbed a goal in the second-half but saw his effort saved by Wayne Hennessey who, in truth, should have been given no-chance of pulling off a save.

Even so, Hendrick picked himself up and from the resulting corner, hit a wonderful driven shot which had to be blocked or else it was destined for the bottom corner.

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As the game drifted towards penalties, Bruce rolled-the-dice and threw on Joe Willock, meaning Hendrick had to shift over to the right in order to accommodate the new-signing.

No one at the time believed Bruce got this decision wrong.

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Willock should have provided a greater attacking threat than a tiring Hendrick, however, the result of this substitution meant Hendrick’s impact became obsolete, the team became unbalanced and lacked any potent threat in the last 10 minutes of the clash.

Assuming Bruce sticks with this 5-3-2 formation, Hendrick showed that if deployed in centre-midfield in a role which allows him to attack and support the strikers, assuming he is offered protection by someone willing to sit in-behind, then he can be an effective weapon if he is able to continue the form he showed last night.

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