Isaac Hayden says the job Rafa Benitez has done at Newcastle United can’t be over-estimated.
Benitez agreed to stay on at the promoted club after talks with owner Mike Ashley on Tuesday.
I think it’s been a little bit underestimated how good a job he has done, because it’s difficult as a manager to get arguably a whole new squad.Isaac Hayden
The pair met two days after Newcastle won the Championship title on a memorable afternoon at St James’s Park.
Ashley publicly pledged to back Benitez in the transfer market this summer after the meeting.
Benitez and managing director Lee Charnley revamped the squad last summer by bringing in 12 players and moving out several big names.
Those deals netted United a £30million-plus profit.
One of those signings was Hayden, signed from Arsenal in a cut-price deal.
And the midfielder feels Benitez has done a remarkable job in quickly getting his new-look team to gel.
“I think it’s been a little bit underestimated how good a job he has done, because it’s difficult as a manager to get arguably a whole new squad,” said the 22-year-old.
“He’s got 12 new players in. He’s lost players who were important last season for the club, or termed ‘big players’, and he’s got the right characters back into the club.
“Everyone wanted to do well and work hard.
“It’s not easy to gel, and especially to get the formation and tactics right, but everyone has worked hard, and it’s credit to the manager and the staff.”
Hayden has also praised the club’s backroom team.
“It’s not just the manager,” said the England Under-21 international. “It’s the fitness coaches, the backroom staff who maybe don’t get mentioned. It’s everybody.”
Meanwhile, Newcastle have been linked with Manchester City pair Fernando and Eliaquim Mangala.
Benitez has reportedly had discussions with Txiki Begiristain, City’s director of football, over Fernando and Mangala.
Midfielder Fernando has been a fringe player at City under Pep Guardiola this season, while defender Mangala has spent the campaign on loan at Valencia.