Mick McCarthy reveals what he told Steve Bruce during summer phone call on Jeff Hendrick

It’s emerged that Steve Bruce enlisted the help of ex-Sunderland and Republic of Ireland boss Mick McCarthy before he brought former Burnley midfielder Jeff Hendrick to the club.

Hendrick, who played under the no-nonsense manager for the Republic of Ireland between 2018 and 2020, finally completed his move to Tyneside on Monday in what proved to be one of the worst kept secrets this summer.

Now, McCarthy has told our fans exactly what he said to Bruce when our gaffer came calling asking for advice on the 28-year-old midfielder.

Here is what he told The Chronicle’s Mark Douglas:

“Steve rang me to ask about him and whether he’d be a good signing – and I told him exactly what I’m telling you. I just said: “Yes. In a heartbeat.”

“They were my first words. I think it’s a great signing. You don’t get too many as good as Jeff on a free transfer, that’s for sure. It’s an unbelievable bargain for Newcastle and I think he’ll be great for Steve.

“He’s been doing it for Burnley for four years in the Premier League. For me he was brilliant. I think he’s a very good player, he’s athletic, he’s got a good touch, he can see a pass and he’s got a goal in him. I said to Brucey: ‘He’s all of those things and he’s 6ft 1ins, 6ft 2ins – he can defend corner kicks as well.’

“I think there’s more to come from him as well, he’s got more to offer than he’s shown so far.”

The former Millwall, Wolves and Ipswich boss also believes his mentality will help him excel on Tyneside, highlighting his positive attitude when asked to play anywhere for the team:

“People will say Burnley this or that but they keep finishing well in the Premier League and he’s been involved in that.

“He played narrow on the right for them and what I love about that is it’s not really his position but does he moan? Does he whinge? Does he hell. He just gets on and plays.

“He does what he does, fits in and does a job. I loved him with Ireland. He was terrific for me. He scored the winner in our first game, getting into the box and he’s got an eye for goal.

“You talked about mentality up in the North East. He’s got no hang ups. He’s a proper bloke. I didn’t see any hang ups in him.

“He played international level – he played against good teams in Switzerland and Denmark and did very, very well. He was as good as anyone else on the pitch in those matches.

“We played 4-3-3 and he played centrally. He’s a nice option to have narrow on the right if you’ve got a man like Allan Saint-Maximin who wanders and does damage in the box in a freer role.

“Jeff is a very safe option in that formation because he’ll offer that back-up and I’m sure there’ll be some consideration of that.”

It will be interesting to see if Hendrick can prove some of his critics wrong, with some Toon fans being pessimistic about another free transfer.

McCarthy’s words sound positive and we could easily have an astute signing on our hands, but only time will tell.

Let’s not forget, Sean Dyche wanted to keep him tied down at Burnley but failed in doing so, and the Clarets went on to finish 10th in the league last season.

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