Former Newcastle United midfielder pictured back at St James’ Park as youngster pens contract

The former Newcastle United midfielder had a hand in the transfer.
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Newcastle United are poised to announce the signing of Cathal Heffernan from AC Milan after the Irishman toured St James’ Park on Tuesday.

Heffernan’s father Rob - a former Irish race walker world champion - uploaded a photo of his son boarding a flight to Newcastle from Dublin Airport yesterday with the caption “busy day ahead!”.

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After touching down on Tyneside early afternoon, the 18-year-old defender headed straight to St James’ Park and posed for photos holding a ‘Heffernan 5’ shirt. And when putting pen to paper on his contract, a familiar face was present.

Former Republic of Ireland international Stephen Ireland, who made two appearances for Newcastle during a failed loan spell in 2011, was stood over Heffernan’s right shoulder. While no longer a professional footballer, the 36-year-old is still heavily involved in the sport as a mentor to some of Ireland’s brightest young talents.

Ireland was involved when Heffernan joined AC Milan from Cork City in February 2022. Heffernan made 41 appearances for Milan’s under-18s side and has captained the Republic of Ireland at youth level.

Heffernan will join fellow Irishmen Alex Murphy and Reece Byrne in Newcastle’s academy. Murphy arrived from Galway United last summer and impressed for Eddie Howe’s first team during pre-season. Byrne, meanwhile, is still in the early stages of his Magpies career having just joined in July.

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