The Swiss Army Knife midfielder with an ‘incredible’ motor – An Irish view on Jeff Hendrick

It’s not the most eye-catching signing of the summer now Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser have arrived on Tyneside to add some much needed firepower to our attack, but there’s plenty believing Jeff Hendrick’s arrival on a free will prove to be a brilliant one for Steve Bruce.

Following his move to Tyneside, we caught up with GOAL reporter and Irish football expert Ronan Murphy on all things Hendrick – a player he’s watched closely at club and international level.

Here’s what he’s had to say during our Q&A on the Republic of Ireland midfielder:

1. What are the key strengths to Hendrick’s game?

Hendrick does the simple things well.

“He’s just good at everything but not great at one specific thing.”

That’s probably his greatest strength.

He’s a tidy midfielder who won’t lose possession or make the wrong decision.

2. On the flip side, what do you consider to be his weaknesses as a player?

This is probably his weakness too, as sometimes it looks like he hasn’t made an impact on a game.

He’s not someone who will create a moment of magic to change a result, rather someone who works hard to get the job done.

3. We’ve heard a lot about his versatility, but what is Hendrick’s best position? Interested to know where you think he’ll fit in our side with Bruce likely to go with 4-2-3-1 next season...

“He works best as a number eight but has been used everywhere across midfield for club and country in recent years.

“Some managers have tried him as a 10, but he doesn’t work as well with his back to goal.

“He needs to have his head up so he can drive forward with the ball.”

5. Do you believe he’ll prove to be a bargain on a free and a good signing for Steve Bruce?

“His price tag has caused some doubts with Newcastle fans but he was Burnley’s record signing just a few years ago at £10m.

“His experience will definitely help Newcastle and he’ll prove to be a shrewd signing.”

5. There’s a popular phrase amongst NUFC fans, saying “we don’t demand a team that wins, we demand a team that tries” – From what I’ve heard, Hendrick’s attitude and work rate is second to none?

“You’ll definitely get hard work from Hendrick. He won’t let you down there.

“He’s got an incredible motor and will keep battling throughout the game.

“Irish fans were sometimes disappointed he couldn’t recreate his Euro 2016 form every game, but subsequent managers have trusted him to work hard for the team.”

6. Is he a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ or does this do him an injustice?

“This would probably be true.

“His goals and assists numbers do not indicate a true number 10 and his versatility has meant he does not hold down the same position week in, week out.”

7. Finally, if you could compare him to any player (past or present), who would you say he’s most like?

“It’s hard to say who he’s like because of that Swiss-army-Knife quality he has.

“Maybe a more advanced John O’Shea or Weston McKennie or even late-period James Milner as he can do a lot of things well but nothing brilliantly.”

As ever, it was good to chat to Ronan and great to hear the views of a reporter who’s seen plenty of him at both club and international level.

You can follow him on Twitter here: @searimnotpaul.

About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

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