Jeff Hendrick has been speaking to the press for the first time as a Newcastle United player in the last few moments.
The Republic of Ireland international spoke highly of Steve Bruce, St James’ Park and Newcastle United – which he believes to be a “massive club” – and also revealed that European giants AC Milan tried to sign him prior to his move to Tyneside.
Here’s what he’s had to say on all of the above, along with a big hint on his strongest position and where he wants to play under Steve Bruce:
“I’m delighted. It’s a massive club,
“I love to play at the stadium here and I’ve been dying to get going.
“There was interest from AC Milan, as you say.
“It was a really nice feeling being told these clubs were interested.
“It gave me a bit of a confidence boost.
“But Newcastle is a massive club in Premier League history and there’s a real demand from the fans.”
Hendrick then expanded on his arrival at the club, revealing that he’s eager to play in central midfield – a position he believes he can ‘kick on’ in, despite being able to operate as a no.10 or right midfielder:
“I had a great four years at Burnley, I really enjoyed it, but I wanted a new challenge.
“I’ve said I’ll play on whichever position I’m needed but I feel like I can kick on playing in the middle.
“I want to play in the middle again, which is where I see myself more as a player.”
“That’s what I want to do. This is where I wanted to come”
With this in mind, it really does seem like he’s a direct replacement for Nabil Bentaleb and ready to compete for a starting spot alongside Shelvey, Hayden and the Longstaff’s.
The former Burnley midfielder then commented his first phone call with Steve Bruce, saying he’s eager to repay the ‘brilliant’ NUFC boss:
“We talked on the phone. He was brilliant.
“It was a really nice chat that we had.
“For me, I was just looking forward to getting going. Now is my time to repay him.”
“I don’t want to take away how much I enjoyed my time there at Burnley. Like I said, I’m 28 now and it was time for something different”
“There’s a bit more of a demand from the fans. It’s a massive club in Premier League history so it probably is a little bit of a step up but I don’t want to talk bad or talk down Burnley because I know how well they’ve done over the last few years”
Finally, the 28-year-old discussed what he’s been doing to stay fit over the summer after no competitive football for almost six months:
“I got myself a ball and cones and have been going down to the local park.
“I’ve done a lot of road running to keep myself ticking over.
“It’s been strange and different but I wanted to be fit for when I signed with a new club.”
He may not be fully fit for the first game of the season after missing the vast majority of our training camp and not playing competitively since March following a contract stand-off with Burnley, but it’ll be good to see him in action in upcoming friendlies against Barnsley and Stoke.
Welcome to the club, Jeff!