Isaac Hayden looking forward to reunion with Arsene Wenger
Isaac Hayden was the one young player trusted to be involved last season by Rafa Benitez.
The then 21 year old featuring in 33 of Newcastle’s 46 Championship games and it would have been more, if not for injury.
The Newcastle manager’s reliance on experience paid off with NUFC going up as champions but the experience that Isaac Hayden picked up in his first full season of football, will be invaluable in the season ahead.
Newcastle looked a far better team when Hayden was alongside Jonjo Shelvey, rather than the slow and limited Jack Colback.
Maybe the main criticism of Isaac Hayden was that he didn’t display his attacking talents enough, with the player usually hanging back in a deeper role rather than getting forward.
Obviously it is a balance in terms of not exposing your defence on the counter-attack but for a big bloke, Hayden has excellent dribbling skills and when he did get forward he often added an extra attacking element to the team.
One of the benefits of signing players from Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, is that technically they are almost always very good on the ball.
Despite the ridiculous criticism of so many Arsenal fans (despite winning their third FA Cup in four years and finishing fifth), their players are always great to watch.
Hopefully Hayden can carry both his defensive and attacking side through into the Premier League, with the midfielder not surprisingly looking forward to two games in particular next season.
Newcastle play at the Emirates on Saturday 16 December and then host Arsenal on Saturday 14 April at St James Park, with Isaac Hayden saying ‘I have got a lot to thank them for’.
With neither Mohamed Diame or Jack Colback looking anywhere near good enough for what is needed next season, Rafa Benitez will surely be bringing in at least one extra option in the centre of midfield.
“That (Arsenal) is the first fixture that I was always going to look for, home and away.
“It’s a hard one as I still have a place in my heart for Arsenal because I was there for eight years.
“It was a massive part of my development and a massive part of me as a person.
“I can never forget that and I have got a lot to thank them for in terms of the staff, the players and everybody that was there, but come next season…
“Hopefully we can do the double over them – there would be nothing better than doing that – I can tell you that now.
“It (the support from Newcastle fans) was unbelievable, this is what you come to expect now, it is almost like we are lucky.
“We almost take it for granted the fans that we have got here and to have them singing the way they were all game (on the last day)…when Villa scored, obviously there was elation for the fans and the celebrations were brilliant.
“Hopefully, next season we can give them something to shout about in the Premier League.”
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