Isaac Hayden's Newcastle debut could put his teammates under threat

Newcastle's Matt Ritchie and Isaac Hayden with referee Simon Hooper

Newcastle had little to shout about after their 1-0 defeat to Fulham on Friday night, but new man Isaac Hayden's debut had fans talking.

Newcastle's Matt Ritchie and Isaac Hayden with referee Simon Hooper

Newcastle may not have started their Championship season how they had hoped, but one man shone on what was a dismal evening for Rafael Benitez's side.

That shining light was new signing Isaac Hayden, who started the game in midfield alongside Jack Colback.

Arsenal's Isaac Hayden

Despite having years of Premier League experience with both Newcastle and rivals Sunderland, local boy Colback was totally overshadowed by his partner, as the 21-year-old gave a mature debut performance, whereas Newcastle's number four looked out of his depth and was subbed just after an hour.

Unknown by most Newcastle fans when he arrived, Hayden's performance was one of few positives on the opening night for the Magpies, who most expected to come away from Craven Cottage with three points.

The Arsenal graduate's debut no doubt raised his stock with Newcastle fans, but it also lowered the stock of his partner Colback.

Newcastle's Jack Colback looks dejected after a missed chanceColback's performance on Friday could put his starting position under threat

During the game against Fulham, Hayden completed 51 passes compared to Colback's 32, with 21 of those passes going forward, and only nine from Colback.

Hayden also made three successful challenges and made zero fouls during his 77 minutes on the pitch, whereas Colback never won back possession before his substitution, but did commit two fouls against his opponents. 

The effect, or lack of, that Colback had on the game will put his position in the starting line-up in jeopardy, but also highlights how good a signing that Hayden was. 

Crystal Palace's Yohan Cabaye in action with Newcastle's Cheick TioteTiote's ability to win back the ball is his biggest asset

Towards the end of last season, Colback and Tiote made such a fruitful partnership with one winning the ball and the other passing it on to the creative players. With Hayden, they have a player that can do both. 

Newcastle's next game is at home to Huddersfield, and Benitez cannot afford to play the negative partnership of Hayden and Colback. Instead, the Spaniard must either bring in new signing Mohamed Diame or Jonjo Shelvey to add an attacking threat from the centre of the park.

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez speaks with Jonjo ShelveyShelvey is a potential alternative to Colback

For all the attacking talent they posses, Newcastle posed no real threat to the Fulham goal, and that was largely down to the negative midfield consisting of three defensive thinking players.

Friday was a wake up call for Newcastle and Benitez, but it was also a sign of things to come with the stellar performance from the young Isaac Hayden.

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