How Isaac Hayden has become an integral player for Newcastle United
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Isaac Hayden has become a regular in the Newcastle United side over the last year, despite his game time being limited in the Magpies' first season back in the Premier League.

The midfielder certainly had an influence of their promotion to the Premier League in the 2016/17 season, but then found game time hard to come by once back in the top flight under Rafa Benitez.

He eventually gained the trust of Benitez last season and played a big part in the revival in the second half of the season.

He has also featured in most games this season with Steve Bruce also seeing what the former Arsenal man has to offer him.

Reasons for not starting

Going back two seasons to when Newcastle made their return to the top-flight, they had other central midfield players who may have been viewed as having better quality by Benitez. 

Jonjo Shelvey had begun to calm himself down and the Magpies also got hold of Mikel Merino who certainly looked more than capable in England, having joined from Borussia Dortmund.

Despite this, it was rare that the Geordie faithful saw both players feature together which meant that there was always an opening for Hayden.

At the beginning of Newcastle's second season back in the Premier League.

 Benitez lost Merino but then introduced Ki-Sung Yeung who would be considered more experienced in the top flight of English football having been one of Swansea City's key players before their relegation to the Championship.

On day two of the season, Hayden didn't do himself any favours as he was sent off in the goalless draw with Cardiff City, albeit he was being played as a right-back.

What perhaps helped Hayden last season was that Ki-Sung Yeung wasn't setting the world alight and Benitez saw Shelvey and Hayden as his midfield duo.

Then came the introduction of Sean Longstaff who had been promoted from the under-23 side. However, this affected Hayden's game-time very little with Shelvey actually being the one who was often sacrificed.

What the statistics show

Hayden's record at Newcastle is impressive in terms of appearance numbers, with him making 106 appearances for the Magpies since joining in 2016.

He isn't a renowned goalscorer but that's to be expected from someone who plays in a defensive midfield role.

He has scored some big goals in his time at St James' Park though with the latest being a 93rd-minute winner against Chelsea in January. He is always likely to be a threat from aerial balls due to his height.

Hayden would be valued in any side as he is so versatile. Looking at his time with Newcastle, he has featured in midfield, centre-back and at right-back, largely performing well on all occasions.

His only let-down is perhaps his style of tackling. When it comes off it's great to see but it has let him down on two occasions whilst with Newcastle.

He saw red against Cardiff City and most recently Leicester City coming from strong challenges from the former England youth international.