Stephen Kenny has outlined where he intends to utilise Jeff Hendrick in his system for the Republic of Ireland.
Just hours before Hendrick’s move to Newcastle United was announced last Monday, Stephen Kenny named the midfielder in his first Irish squad.
Hendrick, 28, moved to Newcastle last week after deciding to reject the offer of a new contract from Burnley and the versatile Irish playmaker has made no secret of his preferred position.
Speaking recently to The Shields Gazette, Hendrick said: “I’ve said if any manager wherever I am needed me to play in a different position, I’d do that no problem but I feel like I can kick on playing in the middle, so hopefully I can.”
New Irish boss Kenny has acknowledged Hendrick’s preference and noted the magnitude of his summer move to St. James’ Park.
“It’s a new challenge,” Kenny told the Irish Mirror. “Newcastle are a very big club. I’m sure he’s excited about moving there.
“He sees himself in a more central area. Whether he gets the opportunity to play there at Newcastle, we’ll have to see.”
Making every one of his midfielders happy may prove to be a difficult task but Kenny hopes to get the best out of Hendrick on either side of a midfield three where he will be joined by James McCarthy and Harry Arter.
“James McCarthy and Harry Arter have been playing in that position for Crystal Palace and Fulham, so I see him (Hendrick) as more of a right or left in a three, as one of the attacking two,” Kenny explained.
The Republic of Ireland will travel to Sofia for a Uefa Nations League clash with Bulgaria on Thursday before they host Finland on Sunday at the Aviva Stadium.