We're all out to impress, says Hayden
Written by Rory Mitchinson
Isaac Hayden feels there is no danger of anybody in the United squad slipping into their comfort zone ahead of the new Premier League campaign.
The Magpies coasted to victory in their third pre-season friendly last night, with Dwight Gayle, Aleksandar Mitrović and a Jacob Murphy brace doing the damage against League One side Bradford City.
As was the case at Heart of Midlothian a week past Friday, Newcastle ended the game with a completely different XI to the one which started.
And, with just over a fortnight to go until their top-flight opener against Tottenham Hotspur at St. James’ Park, Hayden insists that everyone is doing their utmost to stake a claim for a starting berth come August 13th.
“The manager is trying to produce competition for places, and I think that’s going to be imperative going forward,” he told nufc.co.uk. “Nobody wants to feel that they’re in the team – everyone wants to be kept on their toes, trying their best in training every day to create the right impression. And when they do get the chance, they have to show something, otherwise they won’t play. The atmosphere that’s being created is that nobody’s in the team – everyone has got a chance, and it’s about what you do when you do get the chance.
“The first game (against Hearts) was quite good, the second (against Preston North End) not so good, but tonight the passing was a bit slicker and we moved the ball quickly. We’re just trying to learn as much as we can, learn what the manager wants for the new season – trying out new things – and it worked tonight.
“In the first half, we created a lot of chances, and being critical, we should have taken at least one or two. But, that’ll come. It’s only the third game. We’re halfway through the pre-season games now, and hopefully we should be good for the last three.”
Along with Ciaran Clark, Hayden was one of only two players to play for 75 minutes or more at Valley Parade.
And, having been limited to just one half of football since the Magpies' pre-season started, the midfielder was happy to last as long as he did.
“I think I need to get the minutes under my belt,” he said. “I missed the first game through a little knock, and because everyone else was training, I was a little bit behind. But, Ireland was a good week, and I got 45 minutes on Saturday and blew the cobwebs out.
“Tonight, physically, I felt a bit better than I did on Saturday. On Saturday, I felt I couldn’t move, to be honest! Here, I felt much more like myself. If I can just build on these minutes, I’ll be back to full fitness very soon.”
"The manager is trying to produce competition for places, and I think that’s going to be imperative going forward."