Newcastle United fans are still waiting for signings with the instant ‘wow’ factor but Isaac Hayden believes that other things are just as important.
Speaking after helping Newcastle to a crushing 4-0 win over Bradford, the midfielder thinks that competition for places is a top priority.
In his 16 months at the club, Rafa Benitez has shown he will drop anybody, no matter what their reputation or price tag.
In the Premier League the United boss dropped Gini Wijnaldum and others, whilst captain Jamaal Lascelles was given a wake up call when left out in the opening weeks of the Championship season.
Isaac Hayden claims that nobody in the squad wants to feel that their place is guaranteed and that this will keep everybody on their toes, desperate to give it everything to try and hold onto their place.
A criticism through the years under Mike Ashley, especially under Alan Pardew, was that with such a small squad many of the players felt their places were guaranteed and at times didn’t give it 100%.
Quite clearly, to be successful this coming season Newcastle will need both quality and commitment.
I’m a lot more confident that they have the right attitude at the moment and two or three better quality players need to be brought in during these last five weeks of the transfer window.
Hopefully the imminent signing of Mikel Merino will prove to be one of those.
Isaac Hayden speaking to the official club site:
“The manager is trying to produce competition for places and I think that’s going to be imperative going forward
“Nobody wants to feel that they’re in the team, everyone wants to be kept on their toes, trying their best in training every day to create the right impression.
“And then when they do get the chance, they have to show something, otherwise they won’t play.
“The atmosphere that is being created is that nobody’s in the team, that everyone has got a chance, and it is about what you do when you do get the chance.
“The first game (at Hearts) was quite good, the second (v Preston) not so good, but tonight the passing was a bit slicker and we moved the ball quickly.
“We are just trying to learn as much as we can, to learn what the manager wants for the new season, trying out new things – and it worked tonight.
“In the first half we created a lot of chances, and being critical, we should have taken at least one or two.
“But that will come and it is only the third game. We are halfway through the pre-season games and hopefully we should be good for the last three.
“I think I need to get the minutes under my belt as I missed the first game through a little knock and I was a little bit behind.
“But Ireland was a good week,and I got 45 minutes on Saturday which blew the cobwebs out.
“Tonight, physically, I felt a bit better than I did on Saturday – on Saturday I felt I couldn’t move to be honest!
“I felt much more like myself (tonight) and if I can just build on these minutes, I’ll be back to full fitness very soon.”
Bradford 0 Newcastle 4
Newcastle: Gayle 50, Murphy 51,79 Mitrovic 76
Elliot (Woodman 61), Yedlin (Maquilo 46), Lejeune (Mbemba 61), Clark (Saivet 77), Dummett (Gamez 61), Atsu (Aarons 61), Shelvey (de Jong 61), Hayden (Colback 77), Ritchie (Murphy 46), Pérez (Diame 46), Gayle (Mitrovic 61)
Crowd: 7,601 (2,404 Newcastle)
Referee: Geoff Eltringham
(Read the match ratings for each Newcastle player in last night’s match HERE)