Isaac Hayden can look back on a very satisfactory season, both personally and for the club as a whole.

Newcastle looking a far better team when Hayden was played alongside Jonjo Shelvey.

The former Arsenal player admits he can’t really talk about what has gone on in the past at St James Park but that with Rafa Benitez having agreed to stay, the future is going to be bright.

Isaac Hayden talks of being realistic on the club’s return to the Premier League but says that with the right approach, the Magpies can steadily improve back towards challenging in the top eight.

As for the clubs that were promoted 12 months ago, the Newcastle midfielder points to Burnley’s work ethic as the main factor in their relative success of staying up, two places and six points above the drop.

As for relegated Hull and Middlesbrough, he points to lack of stability and management changes as being key factors in their struggles.

However, a quick look at the Premier League table tells you that the three who went down were also the trio who scored the fewest goals in the top tier.

So it is obvious that one of Rafa’s biggest challenges will be adding more goals and creativity in the transfer market.

Isaac Hayden asked if Newcastle can learn anything from the 2016 promoted sides Middlesbrough, Burnley and Hull after their respective seasons just gone:

“I think it is more the mentality of the teams.

“You look at Burnley and you have got Sean Dyche as the manager, you have got the players that they have, it’s a very hard-working team, Burnley.

“They would do well in any league because the basis of their game is hard work, tactical knowledge and being defensively strong, that’s the difference.

“Middlesbrough had a bit of a problem in terms of management, so that can affect the group, and Hull have come up and they struggled.

“If we have the stability and we have the manager behind us and the backing from the fans, I think it will be totally different to any of the teams who were promoted last year.

“The fans have been brilliant, the manager has been brilliant, the whole club has been united and moving in the right direction.

“It’s not been the best of times over the last few years for the football club.

“I can’t really comment on past years because I haven’t been here, but since I’ve been here, it’s been fantastic.

“As long as it does move in the right direction now that the manager is staying, then hopefully we can move forward and go on to bigger and better things.

“This football club shouldn’t really be in the Championship, it should be in the top 10, top eight in the Premier League, challenging for the European positions.

“But it is about being realistic. It’s about a platform that we have built here now and it’s about over the next few years, not just next year, but the year after that and the year after that.

“We want to steadily improve, improve and get better and better and back to where this club belongs.”

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