Newcastle's Issac Hayden in action with Cardiff's Kieran Richardson
Issac Hayden has showered heaps of praise on Newcastle United’s inspiration manager Rafael Benitez, saying he has united the club.
The 22-year-old midfielder, who featured in 33 of Newcastle’s 46 league games in 2016/17, says that returning to the Premier League means everything for the Magpies fans.
Newcastle have gone through a turbulent period in recent years, but the club seems to be heading in the right direction under Benitez.
Hayden says that while Arsenal are a massive club, the Gunners does not have the same aura as Newcastle.
"The last few years have been terrible for the club but now we have the right manager definitely in place. It’s a special feeling here. Arsenal are a massive club, but it doesn’t have the same aura as Newcastle," said Hayden in an interview with The Times.
"I pulled on the red-and-white Arsenal shirt — maybe not enough times to fully appreciate it — but it’s almost like a sense of pure passion from the Geordies, compared to the Arsenal fans."
He adds that Arsenal fans have been great to him as well, but he felt a different feeling every time he wore the black and white stripe shirt for Newcastle.
Newcastle's Issac Hayden and Nottingham Forest's Henri Lansbury in action
Hayden says it gives a different vibe every time, as if it is like representing a fan in the stands.
“Don’t get me wrong, Arsenal fans have had a tough time as well and been great, but I didn’t get the feeling when you walk out at the Emirates as when I walk out at St James’," he added.
"It’s a different vibe. At Newcastle, it’s like I’m representing the guy in the stands. When we lose, I know 50,000 people are not going to have a good weekend. They make me feel like I’m representing them directly on the pitch. I didn’t get that at Arsenal or Hull.”
Newcastle have a loyal fan base, and the Geordies are known to be passionate supporters.
However, as Hayden said that he didn’t get enough opportunity to represent Arsenal and therefore probably not in a position to appreciate the magnitude of the club, it is quite natural that Newcastle's aura has left a strong impression on him.
Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez