Newcastle United midfielder Isaac Hayden not fazed by incoming competition for places

General view outside St James' Park

The former Arsenal man was a key player for Newcastle last season as they won the Championship title, but he may not be first choice next season.

Newcastle United midfielder Isaac Hayden is not letting himself get bogged down by the fact that Magpies boss Rafael Benitez wants another defensive midfielder, instead insisting that he's used to dealing with competition for places, as reported by the Shields Gazette.

The 22-year-old was an integral part of the Newcastle side that won the Championship title last season, making 33 league appearances - in which he scored twice and assisted on three occasions - and made the defensive midfield role his own.

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez and Isaac HaydenNewcastle United manager Rafael Benitez and Isaac Hayden

However, it seems Benitez wants some more strength in depth and added quality for that role, with the Magpies being linked with Manchester City's Fernando, Liverpool's Lucas Leiva, and Benfica midfielder Andreas Samaris, also reported by the Shields Gazette, with all three being defensive midfielders.

Despite this, when asked about whether he was fearing for his place, Hayden stated that this situation was something he was used to and grew up with at Arsenal, and is of the belief that all he can do is give his all for the team and become a better player as a result.

“I’ve always been in a situation where there’s pressure on playing for the club and pressure on winning and things like that," Hayden said, as reported by the Shields Gazette. "And the same for competition for places – I’m more than used to that.

“When you play for Arsenal and you’re a 19-year-old kid, you’ve got to be better than (Alexis) Sanchez, or (Santi) Cazorla, or (Jack) Wilshere or (Aaron) Ramsay, so I’m more than used to that.

“For me, it’s not about anybody else – it’s about myself, and as long as I do my best for the team in whatever capacity that is, improve and learn, then that’s all that I can ask for.

Newcastle United's Isaac Hayden scores their first goalNewcastle United's Isaac Hayden scores their first goal

After returning to the Premier League immediately after being relegated from it, from the outset it seems that Newcastle will strive for a top 10 finish this season at the very least, with Benitez being backed all the way by the Magpies hierarchy.

The fixture list generator wasn't overly kind to the Magpies regarding their first game back, in which they will face the 2016/17 season's runners-up in Tottenham Hotspur at home, but it would be a surprise if their squad hadn't significantly changed before that day.

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