Newcastle United news: Rafa Benitez hits out at patronising pundits, Karl Darlow 'upset', Fears over Isaac Hayden

Newcastle United were swept aside by Brighton and Hove Albion at the weekend as calls for Steve Bruce to be sacked intensified.

Monday, 22nd March 2021, 5:00 pm

Despite all the noise from angry Magpies supporters, Mike Ashley thinks he knows better and is sticking by his head coach.

With today the start of a two-week international break, 60-year-old Bruce needs to make it count in a bid to turnaround his own and the club’s fortunes.

Here is a round-up of the latest news surrounding St James’s Park right now:

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Former Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez has defended the club's supporters. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Rafa Benitez defends Newcastle United fans

While there is no chance of Rafa Benitez returning to Newcastle under Mike Ashley, the Spaniard still holds the Geordie supporters close to his heart.

One thing Toon fans have had to deal with this season is patronising pundits who, only a few months ago, were mocking them for their discontent towards Bruce.

The term ‘Newcastle fans expect too much’ has been batted about but Benitez, during an in-depth interview with the Daily Mail, has moved to rubbish the phrase.

He said: "It was an amazing time for me and an amazing experience and I suffered with the fans because they deserved more.

“Some people, some pundits say: "Oh, they [Newcastle fans] ask for too much." No, they are a city behind the team, so they deserve something.

"I wish them all the best and I want them to stay up. I said so many times, they have to be united, even at this difficult time, it is the only way to stay up.”

Karl Darlow’s England heartbreak

If Karl Darlow wasn’t already annoyed at losing his place in the team, this report from The Athletic will certainly put a dagger in his heart.

It is claimed England’s coaching staff had been in direct contact with the 30-year-old, and they made it clear he was under consideration for a call-up.

However, Bruce dropped Darlow for the visit of Wolves last month and hasn’t featured since which sadly coincided with Gareth Southgate’s selection.

The former Nottingham Forest man is thought to be 'very upset' about missing out on the chance to represent his country in the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino, Albania and Poland.

The snub from Southgate could prompt a fresh approach from Wales. Darlow qualifies through one of his grandfathers, Ken Leek.

Fears Isaac Hayden’s season could be over

In the midst of United’s appalling showing on the south coast, Isaac Hayden’s injury has somewhat gone under the radar.

The midfielder was stretchered off during the first-half after a freak collision with Yves Bissouma, and fears are building over its severity.

Reports are suggesting the 26-year-old is unlikely to play again this season as the club awaits his final scan results.

Hayden tweeted after the game on Saturday night: “Gutted all round is an understatement! I will be doing my utmost to recover as quickly as I can from this injury to help the team.

“Respect to Bissouma for checking on me after the game was a complete accident.”

Losing such a senior player for the closing stages of the campaign is a massive blow to the Magpies’ survival hopes.

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