Who is Jack Hendry? The towering Celtic talent Sheffield United are reportedly keen on
Sheffield United are one of a host of Premier League sides who are being linked with a potential move for Celtic defender Jack Hendry this summer.
According to a piece from the Daily Mail, the Blades are keeping close tabs on the 25-year-old, with Parkhead chiefs said to be deliberating over his future in Glasgow, and Brighton and Burnley also keen.
But who is Hendry, and more pressingly what could he offer Chris Wilder’s side?
We’ve taken a closer look at the centre-back below…
Who is Jack Hendry?
Despite playing for Celtic at youth level and already being 25 years old, Hendry has only managed to amass 27 appearances for the Hoops.
In truth, there are a few reasons for that relatively low tally.
For one thing, Hendry initially left Parkhead when he was a teenager, joining Peterborough United in 2011.
From there he made subsequent switches to Dundee United and Partick Thistle before finally making his senior debut for the latter in 2015.
Later that year he would be on the move again, this time joining Wigan Athletic to kick off a nomadic spell in his career that would encompass loan stints with Shrewbury Town and MK Dons before culminating in a free transfer to Dundee FC.
A season later, and he was back at Celtic after completing a deal worth just under £1.5 million.
Hendry never made a lasting impression on the first team picture with the Bhoys, however, and it is only in his two loan spells since – firstly with Melbourne City and most recently with Belgian outfit KV Oostende – that he has really hit his stride.
Standing at 6’4” tall, the Scot is a towering presence at the heart of defence who has kicked on massively during his current stint on the continent, and with 22 league appearances already this term, he is a first team mainstay.
The hope will be that a continuation of his improved form, along with interest from a number of English top flight sides and Oostende themselves, could be enough for him to force his way back into the international picture too.
The most recent of Hendry’s three Scotland caps came in 2018.
What would he offer?
As mentioned prior, Hendry is a big presence in the centre of a backline, and the stats go a long way towards backing that up too.
So far this season, the Scot has won 68.9% of his contested aerial duels.
To contextualise that figure, prior to his long term injury absence, Liverpool’s defensive behemoth Virgil van Dijk had won 67.3%.
Likewise, Hendry has won 4.5% more of his overall defensive duels than the Dutchman, and made 2.64 more interceptions per game.
Of course, nobody is suggesting that Hendry is a better player than van Dijk, but the fact the he is outstripping such a superlative talent in a defensive sense speaks volumes about what he could bring to the table.
The 25-year-old is more than just a beanpole though.
Comfortable with the ball at his feet and with a good range of distribution, Hendry’s pass completion rate this season has been 90.5%.
Van Dijk’s equivalent figure for the campaign? 90.4%.
Is a deal likely?
Competition for Hendry’s signature looks set to be tough.
Oostende are understandably enamoured with him, and could seek to make his loan move permanent, while Celtic have had their own share of defensive issues to contend with this term as well.
From Sheffield United’s point of view, a poor campaign and a raft of injuries have highlighted the need for defensive reinforcements, while Brighton are expecting interest in up-and-coming starlet Ben White, and James Tarkowski is still yet to sign a new deal with Burnley.
This could be one pursuit to keep an eye on in the coming weeks and months.