If the Newcastle players didn’t know it before Wednesday night then they know now that Rafa Benitez demands full commitment in every single game that Newcastle play – be it a friendly or league game or cup game.
And that first half performance at Doncaster Rovers was a little alarming, since our defense looked as porous as it’s been over the last few seasons.
But the second half was so much better and we created a lot of chances and a goal from new boy Isaac Hayden put us on the road to a 2-2 draw, with Ayoze scoring in the 90th minute.
Issac Hayden scoring against Doncaster Rovers
Issac has looked a very good technical player since he joined us from Arsenal for a low fee of £2.5M.
He is efficient on the ball and it looks like he could become an excellent acquisition for us – certainly his temperament and attitude are first class.
Hayden has been interviewed in the Chronicle today and this is what he has said about the Doncaster game:
“It is another game, another preseason match.” “It is a good test as it is foreign opposition so it adds to your squad game.”
“We will learn from that and take it forward. We certainly learned a lot at Doncaster.” “It is very physical in the Football League and it will be hard on the body.”
“I think that there were lessons to be learned in the first half at Doncaster though.” “We learned them and the second half put them right, we went forward and came back to draw.”
“In the Championship there are going to be times when you get players sent off, injuries or be a goal down from a set-piece.”
“As a footballer you have to get used to that and learn from it.”
“There were a few tackles flying in, and that’s what you want in a friendly.” “For me I don’t think there’s such a thing as a friendly.”
“I just take it as a game.” “If there’s a tackle to be won, there’s a tackle to be won.” “In the second half we powered on and fought back to get the draw.”
“It’s always good to get a goal and it is something I can hopefully add to my game.”
“Hopefully I can progress this season and get a few more. It was mainly to learn from the first half and to try to put it right in the second half.”
“I tell you what that (the large Newcastle fan contingent at the game) was fantastic – especially for an away friendly.”
“Just playing in front of them is an honor.” “To score as well is even better. I just can’t wait to play at St James’ Park.”
Hayden will become a very popular players on Tyneside very quickly both for his ability and his attitude.
The 21 year-old has had two good games for Newcastle so far and he could even nail down a starting place as one of the two holding midfielders at Fulham.
Manager Rafa Benitez is already thinking about what his starting eleven could be for our first league game in 13 days time at Craven Cottage – a game that is already a sell-out.
And Isaac certainly appreciates the support he and the Newcastle team will get from our fans.
This is hopefully a new dawn for Newcastle United under Rafa Benitez.
That’s the real hope of Newcastle fans this season.
Howay The Lads!!