By Darren Bent

21st Aug, 2020 | 7:13pm

'Didn't see that one coming' - Exclusive: Bent drops Bruce reveal after Newcastle transfer news

Darren Bent insists that Jeff Hendrick cannot rely on his quality alone if he is to break into the starting XI at Newcastle United.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Tottenham and England striker admits he has been surprised by some of Steve Bruce’s signings as he prioritises a strong work ethic over technical ability.

Bruce has confirmed to Sky Sports News reporter Keith Downie that Hendrick is close to completing a free transfer to St James’ Park after he left Burnley earlier this summer.

Bent, who played under Bruce at Sunderland and alongside Hendrick at Derby, believes the 28-year-old is the Newcastle manager’s type of signing but that he will need to work his socks off to prove himself.

Asked if Hendrick was a Bruce-type signing, Bent told Football Insider: “Listen, Steve Bruce has surprised me with some signings that I thought: ‘Ooh, I didn’t see that one coming,’ but yeah, he is. 

“Steve Bruce wants a bit of honesty, someone that’s going to work hard – he spoke about it before and he reminded me so many times about the best player he ever worked with was Christophe Dugarry – absolutely loved him but had to get rid of him because he didn’t work hard enough.

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“First and foremost, when Jeff gets up there, he’s got a lot of quality but he’s got to work really hard.” 

Hendrick played 24 times in the Premier League for Burnley last season, primarily as a right-sided midfielder, and scored two goals.

The 54-cap Republic of Ireland international has a total 122 top-flight games to his name.

In other Newcastle United news, the club have knocked back an approach for a player barely seen last season.