What Joe Newell had to say about his 'new role' in the Hibs midfield
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But despite the 30-year-old looking like a different player at times in the European matches against Luzern as well as on a domestic front, he insists that not much has changed from his perspective.
Newell’s quality has never been up for debate, even if he perhaps hasn’t been universally respected by the Hibs support, and he has always been a stand-out in the middle of the park. But his performances towards the end of last season and the start of the current campaign have hinted at a different approach. Gone is the deep-lying playmaker to be replaced by an all-action box-to-box midfielder. His run in the lead-up to Dylan Vente’s goal against Luzern at Easter Road followed a sweetly-struck opener from the former Rotherham man which might have suggested a tweak had been made on the training ground. But Newell set the record straight as he previewed the visit of Aston Villa insisting that the changes in his game are down to his perception of matches – and a bit of experience.
"I just feel I have had a good year or two now in terms of consistency, and over the summer I just tried to do what I could to maintain that consistency to my game,” he explains. “I know that a couple of games always add to that noise so yeah, I have been happy with my performances so far this season as I have been over the past 18 months, really.”
“The manager’s not really asked me to do anything different, but I can see why you might think that. I think there are certain situations, as you get older, when you recognise that certain games ask for more. When we went to Luzern away, I knew that I wouldn't be dropping deep to get on the ball, and I knew that I wouldn't get more than a few passes in the game. I know that different games ask for different types of things and I try to recognise that before and during games. I have been enjoying my performances and enjoying playing, definitely.”