JOE NEWELL insists a glowing reference from ex-Falkirk star Will Vaulks helped to sell him on a switch to Easter Road after becoming Hibernian’s third summer signing.
The 26-year-old penned a two-year deal with the capital club after turning down the offer of a new contract with Rotherham United.
Newell made more than 150 appearances for the Millers during four campaigns at the New York Stadium but decided the time was right to pursue a new challenge after they were relegated from the Championship last term.
And Wales internationalist Vaulks, now Rotherham captain, left him in no doubt that Hibs would be a wise move when head coach Paul Heckingbottom expressed an interest.
Newell explained: “Will [Vaulks] told me Hibs were a massive club and that I had to go up and have a look around.
“He said: ‘You won’t realise the size of them until you go up there’.
“He told me that Edinburgh was a great city to live in and that I would love it up here, so I knew it was worth considering and visiting. That was a good recommendation.
“I had a long, hard think about my future over the last couple of weeks. It’s a massive decision for me to come up here and leave home, but now that I’ve made the decision I’m really happy.”
Newell, who started his career by playing more than 100 games for Peterborough, lavished praise on Heckingbottom’s sales pitch after the Hibs boss left him in no doubt about where the wide-man will fit into their plans.
He continued: “The first impressions were good and then speaking to the manager [Heckingbottom] – that was probably the most impressive thing.
“The way he highlights how he wants us to play and how he sees his team playing and progressing is exciting.
“His ambition and how he sees me fitting into his team just got straight away.”
Newell follows Adam Jackson and Scott Allan in committing to the Hibees for next season, with the latter actually a former teammate at Rotherham during the 2016/17 campaign.
He told Hibs TV: “Everyone knows Scott [Allan] is a really good talent and has a lot of ability. He’s a really good guy as well.
“I got on well with him off the pitch so I’m looking forward to sharing a dressing room with him again.”
Heckingbottom, meanwhile, insists Hibs had to fight off a swathe of interest from south of the border to secure Newell’s signature.
He said: “Joe had several other options so I am delighted that he chose to join us. It is exciting that we can attract players who believe in what we hope to do.
“We’re excited to get Joe over the line. He’s coming in having played a lot of games at a good level in the English Championship last season and is a threat either out wide or inside.
“He can carry the ball up the park and I think he’ll link up well with our other attacking players.”