Newcastle United briefing: Isaac Hayden takes mic in commentary box, Mikel Merino interview

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

It was a moment to remember for Mikel Merino.

The midfielder scored his first goal at the weekend.

And the strike gave Newcastle United a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.

Merino – whose season-long loan was converted into a permanent move this month – has spoken about the goal and what it meant to him.

Meanwhile, Peter Beardsley's Under-23 side are in European action tonight.

Here's your daily briefing:

Mikel Merino

Mikel Merino

Incredible

Merino came off the bench against Palace.

And the 21-year-old, with the help of a deflection, headed a Matt Ritchie corner past Julien Speroni.

Merino has reflected on the strike, which meant the club ended the weekend seventh in the Premier League.

Mikel Merino

Mikel Merino

“It’s a great feeling and really happy to have score my first (goal),” said Merino.

“I’m more than happy to have got three points too. I don’t score a lot of goals, but it is nice to have got this goal that has earned three points.

“It doesn’t matter how you score as long as they go beyond the three posts. For me, it’s incredible to help the team and to see everyone celebrate it like this."

Merino, signed from Borussia Dortmund, has also spoken about being left out of Rafa Benitez's starting XI for the past two games.

Isaac Hayden

Isaac Hayden

Taking the mic

Isaac Hayden will take to the commentary box tonight – for a Premier League International Cup tie.

The club is showing the development squad's game against Sparta Praque at Whitley Park (7pm kick-off) on NUFC TV.

And commentator John Middleton will be joined by Hayden.

Celebrate

Alan Shearer says he celebrated the news that Mike Ashley planned to sell Newcastle United.

Alan Shearer

Alan Shearer

Ashley, the club's billionaire owner, formally put the club on the market last week.

Shearer, Newcastle's all-time leading goalscorer, has been a vocal critic of Ashley since leaving the club for a second time after a brief spell as caretaker manager in 2009.

And the Match of the Day pundit has put the boot into Ashley – and former Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan – in his column in The Sun.

"I could not help but celebrate the news last week that Mike Ashley officially wants out of Newcastle United," wrote Shearer. "He has held Newcastle back for too long."

Read what Shearer had to say about recent comments from Jordan here.

And finally...

Benitez was the bookmakers' favourite to be the best Premier League manager to leave his post in July.

And the latest odds are telling.