How Newcastle's 'intelligent footballers' are making all the difference this season

Isaac Hayden
Isaac Hayden

Isaac Hayden says Newcastle United have the brains – as well as the brawn – needed to succeed in the Championship.

Summer signing Hayden was outstanding in Saturday's 4-0 win over Birmingham City.

The result took the club back to the top of the league.

Rafa Benitez's side take on Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium tomorrow.

Benitez's players are able to switch positions during a game, and Hayden feels their football "intelligence" is making a difference on the field.

“I think it’s just that everyone understands each other on the pitch," said the midfielder, signed from Arsenal in the summer.

"We’ve got a good free-flowing team where all the players understand each other’s positions.

“They’re intelligent footballers, we haven’t just got a left-winger who just plays left wing, he understands what a midfielder would do or a No 10. I think we’ve got an intelligent team, and if people see others are out of position they’re always going to fill in.

“Even though the previous week wasn’t the best for the football club or the team, I still think we played with confidence against Birmingham even though we’d lost a couple.”

Hayden, primarily used as a defensive midfielder, set up Dwight Gayle's second goal against Birmingham.

And the 22-year-old is keen to make more of a contribution in the final third of the pitch.

“I’m just trying to improve every time I get on the pitch, whether that’s ten minutes, 15 minutes or a start," said Hayden, who helped Hull City win promotion last season.

"I just want to show everyone what I can do and the main thing is to get three points. If I can help with that, that’s all well and good.

“I do feel comfortable going forward. The manager’s asked me to do different jobs in the team, and I want to listen to what he says. I think I showed on Saturday I can do things at the other end of the pitch.

“In the last couple of games I’ve had a few shots and maybe it’s about time I scored, but as long as I keep getting in those positions I feel like it’s coming."