Hayden: Competition’s key to Mags’ form
Midfielder Isaac Hayden feels the competition at St James’s Park is a key factor behind in ninth-placed Newcastle United’s early-season Premier League form.
TheChelmsford-bornplayer also believes the team will only get better as Rafa Benitez’s young players gain more Premier League experience.
“We’ve got a young group,” said Hayden, who made 33 league appearances during the Magpies’ Championshipwinning campaign last term.
“You’ve obviously got me and Mikel (Merino) and Jonjo (Shelvey) in there fighting for positions in the team.
“It improves us, obviously having Mo Diame who can play there too. It just keeps improving us. Every day we keep improving. We’re still young and we’re not the finished article by far.” Hayden was left out of the starting line-up last time out, against Liverpool, so Shelvey could be partnered with Merino for the first time this season. The 22-yearold, pushing for a recall against Southampton at St Mary’s on Sunday, was critical of his own performance against Swansea last month – even though Newcastle won at the Liberty Stadium.
“I set myself high standards and I understand my game,” said Hayden.
“I understand what I need to improve on.
“I’m not afraid to admit things or take things on the chin.”
Meanwhile, defender Massadio Haidara is closing in on a comeback from injury. The exFranceUnder-21cap,inthelast year of his contract, could play in Monday’s Premier League 2 fixture at Southampton.
Newcastle’s Isaac Hayden.