Many Newcastle United fans have been reacting on social media, after Isaac Hayden spoke with NUFC TV on playing as a makeshift right-wing-back against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Head coach Steve Bruce was forced to draft the midfielder into his defensive numbers on Saturday after losing DeAndre Yedlin, who is now a doubt for Tuesday night’s FA Cup Third Round Replay with AFC Rochdale.
Bruce’s injury list has just mounted more and more over the winter, with the boss now only able to call on ten fit outfield players and obliged to name two youngsters, Kelland Watts and Thomas Allan, on the bench at the weekend.
His decision to play Hayden in defence along with a number of other changes left some supporters perplexed ahead of kick-off, but the Arsenal product was not afraid to take one for the team and step out of his comfort zone.
“It’s a little bit different to what I’m usually tasked with doing but with the injuries we’ve had these last few weeks, it’s been almost comical,” said Hayden.
“It’s been such bad luck, so we’ve been stretched thin – especially the back lot in the last few weeks – and the manager has asked me to do a different job, which I’m happy to do for the team.
“Realistically, there wasn’t really anyone else who could have played there today. I’ve got limited experience there, but at least its something, it’s better than nothing [and] I gave it my best shot.”
Should Hayden play at right-back vs Rochdale?
Hayden won some supporters over with his performance against Wolves at the weekend, it would seem, as many have reacted to his comments by praising the 6 ft 1 ace.
Chelmsford-born Hayden took 56 touches of the ball during the 1-1 draw and held a 74% pass completion rate after finding teammates with 23 of his 31 balls, per WhoScored data, while also completing two of his three dribbles, taking possession with each of his three tackles, making one clearance and winning one of three aerial duels.
The 24-year-old registered one accurate cross from four deliveries, as well, while winning six of 12 ground duels, committing three fouls and losing possession 20 times, according to Sofa Score figures.
Hayden also played as a centre-back in the 1-1 draw with Rochdale on January 4, which was only the third time he has played in the position for Newcastle alongside three prior outings at right-back and one at right-mid.
Here are some of the messages shared as fans reacted to Hayden’s comments, that showed a “great attitude” from the midfielder…
This guy is totally underrated. He’s a class act and a true soldier for @NUFC well deserved point 🙌
— Adam Telford (@AdamTelford28) January 12, 2020
Hayden’s great. We need to keep hold of him. 👍🏻
— Marcus Nichols (@MarcusN86981811) January 12, 2020
Offer him a contract. Class attitude top lad and we are lucky to have him
— Marcus Macgeever (@marcusmacgeever) January 12, 2020
Epitome of a team player 👌
— Matt Finn (@finn946) January 12, 2020
Great lad he is, wanted to leave now looks to be getting a new contract
— David Jones (@davyj1975) January 12, 2020
Priceless effort, even made mistake to cost equalized but did great for team til the end.
— Ginkoh_NUFC (@Ginkohro) January 12, 2020
respect to Hayden love the lad me
— Lee Martin (@LMnufc87) January 12, 2020
Top professional 👏⚫️⚪️
— davidlabelle7 (@david_labelle) January 12, 2020
Great attitude. Well done👏🏻
— Ms. L H (@exspygirl) January 12, 2020
In other Newcastle United news, a £1.8m-rated Toon man has a vast list of admirers ahead of talks over his St. James’ Park future.