Newcastle United midfielder makes long-awaited injury return
Newcastle United loan midfielder Isaac Hayden played his first competitive match of 2022 as he returned from injury for Norwich City over the weekend.
Hayden remains contracted to Newcastle United until 2026 but joined Norwich on an initial season-long loan deal in the summer.
The 27-year-old missed the second half of last season for Newcastle due to a serious knee injury which required surgery.
He then picked up another injury during pre-season with The Canaries and had to undergo another operation on his knee.
Norwich have an obligation to make Hayden’s loan permanent providing certain ‘performance-related criteria’ are met during the 2022-23 Championship campaign.
And after returning to Newcastle briefly to work on his rehabilitation, Hayden is now back available and made his Norwich debut as a half-time substitute during Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Watford.
Following the match, the former Arsenal youngster took to Instagram as he posted: “Disappointed with the result last night, but have an opportunity to put it right on Tuesday and still in a good position.
"On a personal level, was great to make my Norwich City debut, thanks for your support.”
It was the first time Hayden had featured in a competitive match since starting for Newcastle in a 4-0 defeat at home to Manchester City last December.
But Norwich boss Dean Smith feels Hayden will still have to wait to make his full debut for the club ahead of Tuesday night’s match against Luton Town.
"After 30 minutes [at Watford] I might have been bringing him back off but I didn’t have a substitute option,” Smith said. “It was probably too much for him. But he is experienced and he was able to get through the 45 minutes.
We have to be guided by the medical staff, the medical team. And Isaac himself. I said before he's an experienced player who knows his own body.
“I don't think [he could start against Luton Town]. You know the fact that we only felt he had 45 minutes in him on Saturday, and that last 15 minutes was tough for him. I don't think he is in a position to start, but certainly to be on the bench.”