EX- Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Aaron McEneff became Peter Hutton’s fourth summer signing when agreeing an 18 month contract with Derry City yesterday afternoon.
And Hutton was delighted with his latest recruit who, he claims, had been “exceptional” during training sessions with the team this week.
“We’re delighted to get him,” said the Derry boss. “He’s done exceptionally well in training this week. He ticks all the boxes, he’s young, local and he’s got his best years ahead of him.
“He has great versatility and that’s important when you have a small squad. Our last three signings, Rob Cornwall, Conor McCormack and now Aaron, they all offer that versatility.”
The talented 20 year-old who played regularly with Spurs’ under-21 squad last year before picking up an injury, is excited about signing for his hometown club and he claims he was impressed by the quality of players at the club.
Having supported the ‘Candy Stripes’ since he was a youngster, McEneff insists committing his future to the club was an easy decision to make, despite having other options from clubs across the Channel.
“I’m delighted to be here,” smiled McEneff. “I came in to train this week and all the boys have been great. I know most of them anyway. I’m back home at my hometown club that I’ve supported since I was young. I used to come to Brandywell all the time.
“I’ve been really impressed with the standards here. There are some great players and I don’t think where they are in the league shows how good this team actually is. Hopefully I can come in and help the team.
“My family will be at every game. They’ve always supported me and I know a lot of people from around the city who come to games.
“I remember coming to games here myself when the Brandywell was bouncing and I’m looking forward to getting a taste of that.”
People might say that I’ve taken a step backwards having been at Spurs. But in my career I always look forward and look to the next move and this move for me is a great opportunity for me.Aaron McEneff
The Cornshell lad is expected to wear the No. 4 shirt, following in the footsteps of his manager and of course ex-skipper, Barry Molloy. So no pressure!
And he could be thrown straight into the action for tonight’s visit of Longford Town, providing his clearance comes through in time from the FAI. And he’s eager to get going should he get the nod.
“Hopefully they can get the registration sorted before the Longford game so I can get involved, whether it’s coming off the bench or being in the squad and playing I’m not too sure yet,” he added.
“Fitness-wise I’m feeling strong. I’ve been training by myself and have done a few sessions with a personal trainer. So I’m ready to go.”
The former Institute midfielder has dismissed suggestions he’s taken a backward step following his release from the North London club, claiming he considers the move to the League of Ireland as a step in the right direction.
“People might say that I’ve taken a step backwards having been at Spurs,” he said. “But in my career I always look forward and look to the next move and this move for me is a great opportunity for me.
“I’m going to be living at home, playing in front of my home crowd and there’s going to be good opportunities to play in the first team in a good league.
“There’s always other options in football and I weighed up my options but I felt comfortable from the start here and I enjoyed the week.”
McEneff will provide plenty of options for Hutton but he feels his best position is in midfield.
“I’m a midfielder and I have a good engine,” he said. “I can chip in with a goal as well and I’m not afraid to show a bit of aggression.I’m just looking forward to getting started and hopefully the fans will see what I can do.”
While there has been a definite cull of players by Hutton recently with Anthony Elding, Sean Houston, Seanan Clucas, Shaun Kelly and Shane McEleney all leaving the club, Hutton has added striker, Mark Quigley, defender, Rob Cornwall, midfielder, Conor McCormack and now McEneff during the past fortnight.