Joe Newell 'was close to leaving Hibs' after nightmare start to Easter Road career

Joe Newell has admitted he came close to quitting Hibs after a nightmare start to his time at Easter Road.

The midfielder, who signed a new contract this week tying him to the club until the summer of 2025, was speaking about his extension as he previewed the visit of Dundee United on Scottish Premiership duty on Saturday April 2.

“My first few months here were tough. I didn’t settle, wasn’t playing very well, and was in and out of the team,” he recalled.

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"But Jack [Ross] came in and changed my position and since then it has all been rosy.”

Joe Newell was speaking about his contract extension at Hibs

The 29-year-old has thrived since his positional shift to central midfielder and Shaun Maloney views the former Rotherham United man as a key part of his plans at Hibs.

But Newell revealed that he wasn’t far away from seeking an Easter Road exit and suggested that the arrival of Ross came at an opportune moment.

“Probably up until Paul Heckingbottom left, and definitely towards the end of his stay, I just wasn’t playing or enjoying it.

"Not that I hated the manager – he was a great bloke and a really good coach, but it just didn’t work out for him either.

"I was close to leaving and if it had stayed that way until January, I would have thought, ‘it’s not worked, let’s look at other options’.”

Assuming Newell sees out his contract he will have been at Hibs for six years – longer than any other club in his senior career.

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“When I first joined they offered me a three-year deal and I only took two because I wasn’t sure how it would work out,” he explained.

“I thought I might not like it – and I didn’t that first six months. I could easily have gone back after two [years].

“But since then I have loved every minute. I could see myself staying here after I finish playing.”

Revealing the unexpected nature of the extension, Newell joked: “I’m not on his level but Martin Boyle was getting new deals every two minutes when he was here!

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“So it was nice when the gaffer pulled me in. I was a bit surprised but it’s good, it shows the club has a lot of faith in me and I really do appreciate it.”

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