Departure Lounge – Jeff Hendrick
The transfer window just closed saw probably the two most high profile departures from Derby County for many years in the shape of Jeff Hendrick’s club record move to Burnley and Chris Martin’s controversial loan to Fulham.
Although both these departures have been done to death, it is tradition on Ramspace to bid farewell to our departing heroes. I also thought that if I’ve given up an hour of my life to review Ryan Shotton’s time at DCFC, then its only right that we put something together for these two. So tonight let’s start with Jeff Hendrick.
As a reasonably regular viewer on Derby reserves and U-21’s over the years, it seems like Jeff Hendrick has been at Derby forever. Indeed my lad has a photo in his room of his first Sunday team getting a trophy from Jeff and Theo Robinson and Jeff doesn’t look much older than half the boys!
You don’t need me to tell you Jeff’s life story at Derby but to me he was always a player where nobody ever held a really strong view. Never quite consistent enough to become a fans favourite like Bryson and Hughes, but equally always being more than good enough to avoid being disliked by anyone and throwing in the occasional piece of brilliance for good measure. In fact thinking about it now, did he ever have his own chant?
When I think of Jeff at Derby, consistency is the key word. On his day, particularly in recent years, he could plough through a championship midfield like Yaya Toure in his pomp, but then you wouldn’t see him again for 25 minutes. He also had a recurring habit of getting injured at any point where he was starting to establish himself in the team and find that elusive consistency.
With the deluge of quality central midfielders at Derby in the last few years, Jeff, along with everyone else, found it increasingly hard to command a regular starting place. However this weirdly coincided with him absolutely nailing a starting place for Eire and positively flourishing under O’Neil and Keane.
As his key contributions in the Euros qualifying campaign got more airtime, there were more than a few Derby fans who started to ask why Jeff didn’t play like this for us. Maybe it was formation, maybe it was man management, who knows; But with his stellar performance at the Euro’s pushing his stock as high as it was ever going to get, Jeff’s departure from DCFC became inevitable.
In a summer of transfer madness, this transfer actually seems to suit everyone. Like many of our current squad Jeff had plateaued at Derby and it seems the right time for him to test himself in the Premier league. Derby get a great fee for a player who cost nothing, gave us great service and, let’s be honest, wasn’t even a regular starter. Burnley get one of the top midfielders from the Euros at a good age without paying (in the context of this window) stupid money. Whether there is any clause relating to him potentially getting banged up nobody seems to have mentioned, but I am sure Dyche has it covered!
As I mentioned earlier, consistency was always the missing ingredient for Jeff at Derby but he did score some cracking goals. The 10 men winner, the flying volley at Millwall, last years mazy dribble at Leeds were all great memories but for me my best memory of Jeff is this beauty below.
I am sure all Rams fans will wish Jeff well and he will always get a great reception when our paths cross again.