Last summer Rafa Benitez brought Arsenal youngster, Isaac Hayden, to Newcastle United. While some of his season in the Championship was plagued by injuries, the 22-year-old can reflect on his season positively.
Often a key part of the Toon's set up, Hayden can look forward to not only a season in the Premier League, but as a integral player in the team. But first, he is looking to what Newcastle can take from the past season in which we saw two of the promoted teams relegated in their first season.
Learning from Burnley
Hayden opens his analysis by turning his focus to the only survivor from the 2015/16 promotion, Burnley. They also won the Championship when they earned promotion to the top flight.
When talking about the Premier League, money is often brought into the conversation but the midfielder does not believe that what separated them from Hull and Middlesborough as he said, “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" he further elaborates.
The praise did not end there from Hayden as he went on to say that, “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," the ex-Arsenal man said then furthering his comparison with the other two teams, “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."
What can be taken from his comments is that he believes the key to success is the ethic throughout the club.
Hayden continues with this as he talks about what Newcastle can do next season, “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."
Moving forward for Newcastle
In addition to the praise the club that finished in 16th place in the Premier League, Hayden had kind words regarding his time with the Magpies so far, “the fans have been brilliant, the manager has been brilliant, the whole club has been united and moving in the right direction."
Hayden has been hailed as a player who understands what it means to play for Newcastle, and again he will have won over fans as he assesses the future of the club, “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," the youngster added.
High hopes, realistic plans
While Hayden has only been with Newcastle for a short amount of time, he is aware of the club's past, when they were challenging for silverware and titles. With this in mind he said, “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."
Despite this bold statements and wild ambition that the midfielder has for the club, the youngster remains level headed regarding the challenge that lies ahead, “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."
Hayden concludes his look to the future with the same sensible sentiment that ran throughout his commentary, “we want to steadily improve, improve and get better and better and back to where this club belongs.”