Isaac Hayden’s verdict on the trick that keeps Newcastle’s players on their toes

Isaac Hayden
Isaac Hayden
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Isaac Hayden says no player can rest on his laurels at Newcastle United.

Championship-leading Newcastle – who take on Blackburn Rovers at St James’s Park on Saturday – have won their last nine games in all competitions.

Rafa Benitez’s side beat Leeds United on Sunday to go five points clear at the top of the division.

United manager Benitez does not tell his players the team until an hour and a half before kick-off time.

And midfielder Hayden – who has impressed since joining the club from Arsenal in the summer – feels that ensures that “keeps everyone on their toes” day in, day out at the club’s training ground as they prepare for each game.

“It’s the best way for me,” said the England Under-21 international.

“It keeps everyone on their toes. Nobody’s certain of anything and nobody can rest on their laurels when it comes to training. For me, it helps the group.

“Others might have a different opinion and prefer to know the day before or two days before.

“But, for me, I always give 100% in every training session. I always want to do well and improve.

“If that means I’m starting, then I’m starting. If not, I’ll still go out with the same mentality.”

Newcastle take on Hayden’s former loan club Hull City in an EFL Cup quarter-final at the KCOM Stadium on November 29.

Hayden, 21, helped the club win promotion to the Premier League last season.