Jamaal Lascelles and one or two other Newcastle players have been back at the training ground ahead of schedule, with Isaac Hayden the latest to turn up well ahead of next Monday (3 July) when the squad as a whole will be back.
The former Arsenal player says he wants to ‘hopefully give myself the best chance to be an established Premier League player’.
As a 21 year old, Isaac Hayden was the exception last season, the only young player who was given a significant role (33 Championship appearances), as Rafa Benitez relied almost exclusively on more experienced players.
Interesting to see whether Rafa brings in an automatic first choice midfielder to play alongside Jonjo Shelvey but certainly of the current options, Hayden looks head and shoulders above the likes of Colback and Diame.
Whilst it is a frustrating time for Newcastle fans with so much transfer speculation and little action, it must be even stranger for the current squad, as they wait to see whether Rafa Benitez will target their position in the team for strengthening.
Isaac Hayden talking to the official club site:
“When I was at Arsenal I think I was on the bench in the Premier League a fair few times but I never really got on – I always knew I was only there because of injuries or something, so it wasn’t really the same feeling.
“It will be good this time to get a proper opportunity, and hopefully give myself the best chance to be an established Premier League player. But I’m just looking forward to it – I’m taking it day by day, enjoying the experience and just trying to learn as much as I can, improve in training and then we’ll see what happens this season.
“It’s a fresh slate for everybody. Nobody is going to be talking about what happened last season going into this one – it’s a fresh slate for everybody, everyone gets a fresh opportunity to show what they can do.
“It’s just up to you, in pre-season, to show that you’re willing to put the work in and perform when you get the opportunity to play, to show the manager and the staff that you want to be an integral part of the team going forward in the Premier League.
“I’ve always been in a situation where there’s pressure on playing for the club and pressure on winning and things like that, and the same for competition for places – I’m more than used to that.
“When you play for Arsenal and you’re a 19-year-old kid, you’ve got to be better than Sanchez, or Cazorla, or Wilshere or Ramsay, so I’m more than used to that.
“For me, it’s not about anybody else, it’s about myself, and as long as I do my best for the team in whatever capacity that is, improve and learn, then that’s all that I can ask for.
“I was confident when I first joined here. There was competition when I first came here, but I was confident that I was going to play and I’m no different now. I’ve got confidence in my own ability. I wouldn’t say I’m arrogant, but I know what I can bring to the table and I know what I can do. I think that given the opportunity, I should be fine in the Premier League.
“I’m going to be a bit patient, everything is going to be new, and there’s going to be competition for places but I’m more than happy to compete, work hard, do the right things and earn my place, which is what I’ve done ever since I’ve been here.”
“I was looking at the fixtures the day they came out, and Spurs at home is a massive fixture to start off with. I’m sure everybody wants to get back in and will be looking forward to that one.
“But it’s the whole Premier League experience, not just the one game, you’ve got 38 games against a lot of good teams, so it’s exciting times.
“It’s about everyone pulling in the right direction: the players that are already here, the players that will come – everyone working together to make sure that the club goes in the right direction.
“It’s been a long break so far and it’s probably been needed for a lot of the players, including myself. I feel really good now, and I feel ready and raring to go for the season ahead.
“I’m looking forward to pre-season. All the lads get back next Monday and I just came back in a few days early just to get a few treatments and make sure I’m 100% ready. I feel really good, I’ve been doing my exercises, my gym work and my running, so I feel ready and raring to go.”