Noel Whelan has waxed lyrical about Jeff Hendrick after Newcastle United confirmed the signing of the Irish midfielder.

The former Leeds United striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, claimed that it was a “no-brainer” to hand the “fantastic” 28-year-old a long-term deal at the club.

Newcastle confirmed the signing of Republic of Ireland international Jeff Hendrick yesterday after he put pen to paper on a four-year contract at St. James’ Park.

Hendrick was available on a free transfer this summer after he left Burnley upon the expiration of his contract.

He made 27 appearances for the Clarets last season and scored three goals to help Sean Dyche’s side to tenth – their highest ever Premier League finish.

When asked by Football Insider if Hendrick was a shrewd piece of business from the Magpies, Whelan said: “It is a no-brainer, quite frankly.

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“He is a fantastic player and he always has been, he did very well at Derby and Burnley.

“He gets around the field, is very competitive and still has loads to offer. His wealth of Premier League experience will have swayed Steve Bruce as well. He gives them strength of depth in that midfield area. He can score goals and create them.

“An international on a free contract, they are not losing anything by going for a player like that. He will add quality to Steve Bruce’s squad.”

Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce smiles

Shortly after the signing 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 couldn’t afford him, so I missed out then!

“He’s an experienced international football 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.”

In other Newcastle United news, Michael Brown delivers verdict on Longstaff contract saga as midfielder finally signs new deal.