When summer signing Jeff Hendrick moved from Derby County to Burnley, Martin O’Neill expressed amazement Robbie Brady, Ireland’s other breakthrough player at Euro 2016, hadn’t also been snapped up by a Premier League club.
But while it may have taken longer than expected, Brady’s move from Carrow Road to Turf Moor finally sees him back in the top flight, having smashed the Burnley transfer record set by his Irish team mate only last August.
The €15 million move also sees the two former Dublin schoolboy footballers reunited at club level in adulthood, a development warmly welcomed yesterday by Hendrick who’d made no secret of his desire for Brady to join him - and a third Irish international, Stephen Ward – at Turf Moor.
“It’s great for me to have another friend here,” said Hendrick. “I think he will be brilliant for the team.
“He’s got lots of qualities. I think everyone has seen it over the last few years, whether it was with Norwich, Hull or Ireland, and now he’s going to be ready to show them here.
“He’s got a great left foot and you could go on all day and talk about how good he can be for us — he’s just got to show it now.”
Brady himself has reacted with delight to his return to the Premier League and a place with a Burnley side who have risen to ninth in the table under the astute management of Sean Dyche.
“It’s a great move for me,” said the 25-year-old. “It’s where everybody wants to be and for the manager to give me the opportunity to come and play in it again is fantastic.
“I will grab it with both hands and hopefully I can do my bit to help the lads.”
With his protracted transfer saga finally settled on deadline day, Brady was able to watch from the directors’ box at Turf Moor on Tuesday night as the Clarets maintained their formidable home record with a 1-0 win against Leicester.
“I thought the lads were amazing and it was a fantastic start for me to come and witness them play like that and get the win they deserved,” Brady said.
“I have always enjoyed coming to play here. I have played here on numerous occasions now and getting to feel the atmosphere was excellent and I’m ready to go.
“It’s been a fantastic start to the season and it looks like the club is going in the right direction.
Now that they're reunited, another excuse to use this Jeff Hendrick/Robbie Brady pic pic.twitter.com/5ubR7XOeYY— aidan o'hara (@oharaa) January 31, 2017
I’m just buzzing that the manager has shown enough faith in me to want to bring me here and hopefully I can repay him.
“I’m ready to work hard and learn how things work here and hopefully I can fit in and do my bit.”
The Dubliner should get his first opportunity to don the Clarets’ Number 12 shirt on Saturday when Burnley travel to Vicarage Road to play a Watford side likely to still be on a high their shock victory over Arsenal at the Emirates on Tuesday.
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