Republic of Ireland midfielder Jeff Hendrick has admitted being linked with AC Milan during the summer provided him with a confidence boost.

Newcastle United ultimately won the race to sign the 28-year-old Dubliner after his contract at Burnley had expired, but knowing that they had had to fight off competition from the Serie A giants put a smile on his face.

Speaking about Milan's interest as he was unveiled at a press conference on Friday, Hendrick said: "Yes, there was interest there. I know there was a bit of interest and that was it.

"It was a really nice feeling when I was told they were interested. Everyone knows that club, it's massive, so it gave me a bit of a confidence boost, I have to say."  

Hendrick is currently working with his Newcastle team-mates at their pre-season training base in York and is relishing the chance to pull on a black and white shirt for the first time in anger when the new Premier League season gets under way next month.

Asked why he had opted to head for Tyneside, he said: "It's a big club, lovely stadium. I know the fans obviously won't be in at the start - but a great fanbase.

"Growing up, Newcastle were a big team for me to see on TV, so there are loads of different things.

"Once the offer became solid, this was where I wanted to come."