Newcastle United midfielder Isaac Hayden was one of the stars of the 2018/19 season under former boss Rafael Benitez.
The Englishman was a key reason for the Magpies upswing in form mid-way through the campaign, as he came in alongside Sean Longstaff in central midfield and immediately improved a woeful team.
He’s started the news season off in a similar vein – up until his sending off against Leicester City – but you wouldn’t know it by head coach Steve Bruce’s stance on the player.
The Northern Echo reported on Monday that the Toon chief is set to ruthlessly axe the 24-year-old once he returns from suspension, with Matty Longstaff’s one good game seemingly worth more in his eyes than the months of excellence produced by Hayden.
The former Arsenal man isn’t expected to come back into the team, with Bruce instead set to challenge him and his fellow midfielder Jonjo Shelvey to rise to the level of the Longstaff brothers.
Hayden has surely been left baffled by that, because Matty has played one good game for the first team, while Sean was in awful form this season up until the win over Manchester United last time out. Despite that, Hayden apparently has no way back into the side.
He’s been really good again this term, once again rising above a poor Newcastle team. As per WhoScored.com, Hayden is averaging 3.1 tackles, 1.9 interceptions and 1.1 blocks per game from the defensive midfield position. Simply put, he makes his side so much more robust defensively.
Yes, some sort of punishment is probably due for the Leicester sending off, but he could be forgiven for feeling like all his hard work over the past year has simply gone out the window because of one good game from a homegrown teenager.