Hayden Grateful To Shrimpers
Written by Newcastle Utd
Isaac Hayden is looking forward to Tuesday night's friendly at his former club Southend
By Dan King - Newcastle United Digital Editor
Essex boy Isaac Hayden could well have been running out for Southend United against Newcastle on Tuesday night had things turned out a little differently.
Instead, the midfielder will line up for the Magpies against the club where it all began for him - and admits he owes a big thanks to the Shrimpers for helping him get to where he is now.
The Chelmsford-born 21-year-old joined Rafa Benitez's side from Arsenal this month and has impressed in United's three pre-season fixtures so far, scoring against Doncaster last week.
His fourth appearance is likely to come in the friendly at Roots Hall (kick-off 7.45pm) and so it will truly be a case of going back to his Roots for Hayden.
"I started there for the under-nines, and left when I was an under-14," he explained when he spoke to nufcTV on Monday.
"It was a good starting block for me in my career so far and I've got a lot to thank them for. I still know quite a few of the staff down there so it'll be good to get back and see them.
"We had a good team; we were only young, under-12s to under-14s or whatever, but we had a few players (including Wolves' England under-21 international defender Dominic Iorfa and goalkeeper Daniel Bentley, now with Brentford) who have now gone on and progressed in their career, which is always good.
"I think the academy as a whole down there is pretty good from what I've experienced and hopefully they can produce a few more players for their first team.
"One of the lads I used to play with there has just signed for Huddersfield - Jack Payne - so he's done well for himself. He got in the first team, did well and got his move. I don't really know too many of the other players but I'm sure they'll be another competitive side and they'll want to beat us. We've got to make sure we're ready for the challenge.
Hayden added: "The physios are still there and the head of youth is still there; it'll be good to see them.
"Obviously, it's not as luxurious there as it was at Arsenal but for me, the main thing as a young player is you get the right coaching and you get the right foundations from a young age.
"It doesn't matter where you are, as long as you get the basics right and you get good coaching, that's all that matters. They did have some very good coaches when I was there - equally as good as Arsenal - and it's just a case of learning from the coaches, taking it on board, working hard and you'll get to where you want to eventually, if you work hard.
"It's about 30 minutes from where I'm from so it's a local club - but I'm not really focused on that, I'm more focused on any game time I get on Tuesday night I've got to maximise it. It's another fitness boost towards the beginning of the season."