New boy Isaac Hayden feels Newcastle United is a step up for him – despite the step down from Arsenal to the Championship.
The 21-year-old joined the relegated club in search of first-team football.
I’ve been getting used to the formations and training. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind. I’ve enjoyed every second of it.Isaac Hayden
And versatile Hayden – whose preferred position is central midfield – has been getting to know his new team-mates in Ireland this week.
The England Under-20 international spent last season on loan at Hull City, then in the Championship, and he’s quickly adjusting to life at Newcastle with Rafa Benitez.
Hayden is keen to make his debut for the Magpies in this afternoon’s friendly against Dublin side Bohemian at Dalymount Park after a “whirlwind” first few days at the club.
“It’s been fantastic,” said Hayden.
“It’s just been about getting used to the manager and what he expects from me.
“I’ve been getting used to the formations and training. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind. I’ve enjoyed every second of it.”
Hayden, who was convinced that his future lay on Tyneside by Benitez during a two-hour meeting last month, made just two Capital One Cup appearances for Arsenal, and he’s desperate to finally get his career up and running on Tyneside.
“It’s s shame at Arsenal I never really got a chance to show what I was capable of, but, for me, Newcastle is a massive club,” said Hayden.
“To get the opportunity to come and a chance to progress my football is huge.
“As soon as I got the opportunity, I took it with both hands.”
Hayden is grateful for the opportunity he was given by Arsenal, having trained with the likes of Jack Wilshere, Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla at the Gunners.
However, he felt it was the right time to move on given the need for him to be playing week-in, week-out.
“Training with players like Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere will only help you,” said the Chelmsford-born player.
“It won’t hinder you. I’ve got a lot to thank Arsenal for – I was there for eight years.
“It was a good time, but it’s the time to move on, this is the right place.
“For me there was no chance for me at Arsenal.
“There are too many midfielders there, and even players like Jack Wilshere might not get a game next season.
“So for me, I had to move on to progress my career.
“As soon as the manager here spoke to me, I knew it was the right place to come to get to my potential.”
Hayden is ready to “crack on” with his United career after getting used to Benitez’s methods.
“It’s good to get in with the lads and start training,” he said.
“And it’s good to see what the manager wants for you for the rest of the season.
“It is a little bit different to Arsenal. Here, we train every day, whereas at Arsenal, you get recovery days in between.
“I am getting used to it, but I am settling in well and ready to crack on.”
Meanwhile, United goalkeeper Freddie Woodman helped England to a 2-1 win over Holland in the European Under-19 Championships yesterday.
The Group B win all but secured a place in the last four for Aidy Boothroyd’s side.
Woodman said on Twitter: “Brilliant win against Holland. We showed great spirit and determination to go on and get the three points!”
And Boothroyd said: “It’s an 18-man squad, and we believe that we have to be ready to play all 18 players.
“We said from the start that everybody’s going to be needed – there’ll be games when, tactically, people might need to come out to come in and win the game later on, and everybody accepts that.
“We’re in a situation where subs must come on and perform – we can’t have anybody sulking.
“We tend to be (together) as a team and as a squad. We have a good relationship with the players and discuss tactics so they understand game-plans.
“We just felt that we needed to make sure that we were very solid defensively.”