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Steve Bruce hails ‘big asset’ Jeff Hendrick after midfielder joins Newcastle

Burnley v Norwich City – FA Cup – Fourth Round – Turf Moor
(Image credit: Anthony Devlin)

Newcastle head coach Steve Bruce revealed he had finally got his man after free agent Jeff Hendrick put pen to paper on a four-year deal at St James’ Park.

Former Hull boss Bruce had wanted to sign the 28-year-old Republic of Ireland midfielder before he moved from Derby to Burnley for £10.5million in 2016, but could not afford him.

The 59-year-old Bruce said: “Jeff is someone I’ve admired for a long time. I watched him when he was at Derby, then he went to Burnley for a lot of money and I couldn’t afford him, so I missed out then.

“He’s an experienced international footballer who can play all across the midfield, so we welcome him aboard. He’ll be a big asset to us on and off the pitch.

“He’s a great pro, down to earth, and at the age of 28, it’s a wonderful time to get somebody. It is the peak of his career – he’s a really fit boy who has played 122 times in the Premier League for Burnley over the last four years, and I’m sure he’ll be a great addition to the squad.”

Dubliner Hendrick, who was on Monday named in the Ireland squad for their Nations League clashes with Bulgaria and Finland next month, made more than 200 appearances for the Rams before getting his big money move to Turf Moor.

That came after a series of impressive displays for his country at the Euro 2016 finals in France, where they made it to the last 16 following a famous win over Italy.

He turned out on 139 occasions during a four-year stay at Burnley, but was unable to agree a new contract with the club.

Hendrick told NUFC TV: “It’s a massive club and playing over the years, going to the stadium, it’s one of the best stadiums to play in, so I just want to get playing there.

“I’ve had over 100 games in the Premier League, but I want to keep going and keep improving with a different team.

“It’s going to be different for me, the demands with the bigger stadium, the crowd, how big the club is, so I’ve got to take that on and keep pushing myself and striving to get better.

“I’m looking forward to it – I can’t wait.”

Hendrick’s arrival follows hot on the heels of 20-year-old Matty Longstaff’s decision to commit his immediate future to his home-town club after signing a new two-year deal.