With such a big squad and Rafa Benitez having such a willingness to chop and change his team selection, it is often hard to tell if a player has actually been ‘dropped’.
In the case of Isaac Hayden, the player himself has indicated that this HAS been the case with him in recent weeks.
Hayden had started eight of Newcastle’s nine Championship matches and came on as a sub in the other at Derby County. However, after the draw at Aston Villa, the former Arsenal midfielder has been left out of the last couple.
The 21 year old came off the bench along with Aleksandar Mitrovic for the final 20 minutes and helped turn the game around against Norwich – but then spent the whole of the Rotherham win watching from the dugout. On both occasions Jack Colback started alongside Jonjo Shelvey.
Speaking ahead of the Brentford game, Isaac Hayden hints that this was the correct decision as he was ‘maybe a little tense in my game, putting too much pressure on myself’.
The player says that Rafa Benitez talked to him about the issue and helped him sort it out in his head, in what sounds like another great oiece oof man-management by the United boss.
A mature response as well from the midfielder which is great to see and I’m sure we will see a bounce back to his best form, after Isaac Hayden had maybe dipped in the last two Championship games he started against Wolves (2-0 defeat) and Aston Villa (1-1) draw.
Isaac Hayden talking to the club’s official TV channel:
“I didn’t play in the Rotherham match and maybe I was a little bit tense in my game, putting too much pressure on myself a little bit.
“The manager spoke to me about that and he just helped me understand what he wanted from me, what he wanted from my game, and I think that helped me.
“I’ve come back now after the England under-21s debut and I feel fresh and ready to go for the next section of games.
“There’s a lot of games in the Championship as we all know, the manager likes to rotate and keep players fresh.
“I think everyone is on board with what he wants going forward and everyone who is associated with the club needs to be pulling in the right direction, to get the club back to where it belongs in the Premier League.”