Jeff Hendrick will lead by example as he returns to football after a six-month break.
The 28-year-old midfielder will hope to win a 55th senior Republic of Ireland cap in Bulgaria on Thursday evening, his first taste of competitive action since the Premier League season closed down in March.
In the meantime, he has left Burnley for Newcastle after contract talks at Turf Moor broke down and is relishing the prospect of bringing his experience to bear once again on the international stage in Sofia as a re-shaped squad takes to the field for the first time under new manager Stephen Kenny.
Hendrick, who played an hour of the Magpies’ 2-1 friendly win over Barnsley at the weekend, said: “It’s not my style to be shouting or banging about. I wouldn’t lead in that sort of way.
“I’d have quiet talks with younger players or the lads on what we need to do or what we want to do.
“I played 60 minutes and it was a great feeling just to be back on the pitch and playing. I know it was a friendly, but it felt to me like a proper game.
“Now that the proper games are here, I’m just delighted and buzzing. I just want to – if selected – play as much as possible.”
Hendrick was handed his senior Ireland debut by Giovanni Trapattoni in February 2013 and established himself as a regular under Martin O’Neill – he turned in a series of impressive displays at Euro 2016 – and Mick McCarthy.
Now he faces the task of impressing another manager in Kenny, a man whose pedigree is well-known in his native country, but perhaps not as much beyond.
Hendrick said: “He’s very good. He knows what way he wants to play football and he’s going to try and give you the most information he can to get you to play that way. I think any player would appreciate that.”
Kenny has had only a matter of days to instil his ideas into the squad ahead of the Nations League opener against the Bulgarians, but Hendrick is confident he can launch his reign in style.
He said: “I think we should win the game. Hopefully we can win it in a nice way. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
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