Has summer signing proved to be Newcastle's young player of the season?

Newcastle's Dwight Gayle celebrates scoring their fourth goal with Isaac Hayden

Rafa Benitez has predominantly turned to experience to inspire Newcastle United's promotion bid, but a few youngsters have still got their chance.

Newcastle United manager Rafa BenitezNewcastle United manager Rafa Benitez

It may be extremely difficult to pick out Newcastle's player of the season in a campaign which looks set to end with automatic-promotion back to the Premier League, but surely picking their young player of the season is a much easier decision.

Rafa Benitez has not compiled an ageing squad, but it is fair to say that he has predominantly turned to experienced players to inspire their promotion bid, the majority of whom are currently in their mid-20s.

One of the younger players who has broken into the side, and has subsequently played a key role in helping the Magpies put themselves on course for a top flight return is Isaac Hayden.

The 21-year-old summer signing has been exceptional in the middle of the park this season, so must be considered the club's young player of the campaign.

Hayden's reading of the game and ability on the ball highlight why he was on Arsenal's books for just a couple of years short of a decade, and it is Newcastle who are reaping the benefits of that quality. 

Newcastle's Issac Hayden and Nottingham Forest's Ben Osborn in actionNewcastle's Issac Hayden and Nottingham Forest's Ben Osborn in action

The stability and support he provides to the back four has allowed the likes of Jonjo Shelvey to play with plenty of freedom, which has helped make Newcastle extremely difficult to cope with in the final third.

And while he may not have anywhere near as much experience as many of his teammates, it must be noted that if Newcastle go up this season, he will have enjoyed promotions in successive years, having helped Hull City secure a top flight spot last season.

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