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Scout Report: Motherwell defender Ben Heneghan - What do we know about him?

Sunderland have been today linked with a move for highly rated Motherwell defender Ben Heneghan. Who is he, what is he like and is there anything in the rumour?

Livingston v Motherwell - Pre Season Friendly Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Full Name

Ben Heneghan.

Date & Place Of Birth

Ben was born in Manchester on the 19th September, 1993.

Playing History

Having started out life in football learning his trade at the academies of Everton and Stoke, Heneghan found himself released from the Potteries in 2014 and without a club.

Following unsuccessful trials that summer with Oldham and Accrington Stanley, the youngster joined non-league Chester FC and flitted between playing right back and centre half, eventually settling in as a central defender alongside the experienced former Rotherham captain Ian Sharps.

Heneghan rapidly began to attract attention when playing for The Blues and in 2016 it was reported he was being tracked by a host of Championship clubs, but it was a move to the Scottish Premiership that was next on the cards for the ex-England C team player and in June of that year he signed a two-year deal with Motherwell.

Since arriving at Fir Park last summer, Heneghan has further enhanced his reputation within the game and is proving that even at the age of 23 he is more than capable of playing at a decent level.

Chester City v Barnsley - FA Cup Second Round Replay
Ben Heneghan of Chester battles with Mason Holgate of Barnsley
Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Physically, What Is He Like?

At 6”3, Heneghan towers over most forwards and it’s his prowess in the air that sees him gain an advantage over the majority of his opponents.

He’s no slouch, either. He’s adept at playing both on the right and in the centre of defence due to his ability on the ball and his pace, attributes that have aided him considerably as he develops as a central defender.

What Has Been Said?

Heneghan was linked earlier in the window with a moves to Burnley and Rangers, but according to sports reporter Peter O’Rourke - who was the man to break the news on Lewis Grabban’s transfer to Sunderland and was the first to credit our interest in Ross McCormack - the Motherwell defender has turned down a new contract in order to aid a move away to an English club before the transfer window closes.

O’Rourke reports that both ourselves and QPR fancy a move for the former Everton youngster and that, with ten months left to run on his deal, his current club may well be tempted to cash in on him whilst he still holds value.

How Much Has He Been Playing?

Heneghan is a regular at the heart of the Motherwell defence and has played in seven games so far this season, scoring his first professional goal for the club against Rangers at the start of August.

Northampton Town v Stoke City Development Squad - Pre Season Friendly
Heneghan as a youngster, playing for Stoke
Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images

Where Would He Fit Into Simon Grayson's Squad?

Rumours of Lamine Kone’s imminent departure just aren’t going away and it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that we could start September without the Ivorian in our ranks.

That said, even if Kone stayed we’d still arguably need another defender. Michael Ledger is off to join Hartlepool on loan as he seeks vital first team experience and Papy Djilobodji just isn’t good enough. Strong competition for places is needed right throughout our squad and Heneghan would certainly add that.

Injury History

Heneghan is still young and has been lucky enough to have not suffered any long-term injuries since beginning his senior career at Chester.

Video Footage

As I mentioned before, Heneghan scored his first Motherwell goal three weeks ago against Rangers, a free header at the back post which put his side level in the 40th minute.

Sunderland need goals from all over the pitch and whilst Heneghan hasn’t managed to add a great deal of them to his game so far in his short career, he’s certainly big and awkward enough to be a considerable threat at both ends of the pitch.

Conclusion

We’ll have to wait and see if there’s anything in this one, though in fairness Peter O’Rourke has been a reliable source of Sunderland transfer information so far this summer.

Provided the deal is good, why not? One of my biggest gripes about Sunderland’s transfer policy in recent years is that we do not recruit from lower leagues enough and there are many examples of players now playing in both the Premier League and the Championship that have suffered set-backs as youths only to find their feet on the non-league scene before rapidly rising back up the divisions.

Heneghan is very highly rated and there’s a good reason that he was subject to interest from Premier League clubs last season. I guess the question is: can we afford him, even at £200k? That much is debatable. We’ve not signed a single player since before the season began and it’s clear that Simon Grayson doesn’t have the funds he requires to properly strengthen his squad.