Hendrick out to impress McCarthy

Burnley
Jeff Hendrick says a Group D win over Georgia on Tuesday would be good for the Republic of Ireland's 'morale and momentum'.

Burnley's Jeff Hendrick believes he can improve his performances for club and country, starting this week while on international duty for Republic of Ireland.

The 27-year-old looks set to win his 50th cap for his country this week as Mick McCarthy’s men play Switzerland on Thursday night.

Ireland will welcome Switzerland to Dublin for a Euro 2020 qualifier, before then meeting Bulgaria in a friendly on Tuesday night.

Hendrick has scored two goals for his country since making his debut in 2013, and he was part of the team that played for Ireland at the Euro 2016 finals in France.

His performances have been criticised since that tournament, but the former Derby County man is refusing to give up.

The Dublin-born midfielder claims he played out of position under previous managers and he believes McCarthy will bring the best out of him.

Hendrick has been out of the first-team picture at Burnley in recent weeks, with manager Sean Dyche only handing him one appearance so far this season.

Jack Cork and Ashley Westwood have been given the nod in the middle of the park for the Clarets, but Hendrick is confident he can find his form under McCarthy on the international stage.

He told Pendle Today: “I hear the outside noise and people saying they haven’t seen me since the Euros. Everyone has their own opinion, but I did play a lot of games not in the position I played in at the Euros.

“The manager said it to me when he came in. He said, ‘I know you’re a central midfielder’, so I’ve played there. I’ve played there in the games under him and in training as well, and I’m enjoying it.”

Two excellent performances for Ireland could give Hendrick the edge as Burnley’s players return to club duties next week.

The Clarets sit 12th in the Premier League table, despite no win in three matches. Defeats to Arsenal and Liverpool were expected, and Dyche’s troops will look to bounce back against Brighton following the international break.

Dyche could be tempted to use Hendrick going forward, with Steven Defour now back in his native Belgium.

The Clarets agreed to mutually cancel his contract last week as Defour headed home for family reasons. Injuries held him back at Turf Moor, and the former Anderlecht man made just 58 appearances in three years in Lancashire.

Dyche still has several selection headaches to consider, with Dwight McNeil suffering a minor injury last weekend.

Robbie Brady is close to a return after playing for the club’s Under-23s side, while Danny Drinkwater continues to work on his fitness following his loan move from Chelsea.

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