Newcastle United were put to the sword by a Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired Manchester United as they fell to a disappointing 4-1 defeat away at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon.
Steve Bruce’s side couldn’t stop the Red Devils’ recently arrived Portuguese superstar as he scored a brace, and while they did get back on level terms at 1-1 thanks to a goal from Javier Manquillo, it felt almost inevitable that United’s pressure would eventually tell.
While Freddie Woodman had a day to forget in between the sticks as he let in a couple of cheap goals, Isaac Hayden’s performance was equally worrying and concerning.
His cause certainly wasn’t helped by the fact he was thrust into a centre-back role against a United side teeming with superb attacking players, and that unfamiliarity really told with his positioning and sense of marking.
As per Sofascore, he lost the only duel that he was involved in, which is incredibly disappointing for a defender – to put that into context, Joe Willock won a mammoth 13 of the 14 that he contested.
Hayden also made no tackles and just the one interception, while only one of his six attempted long balls found its mark – either defensively or on the ball, the former Arsenal starlet just couldn’t get going or find his footing in the game.
That was reflected in some of the post-match player ratings handed out after the game, with The Shields Gazette’s Miles Starforth giving him a five, and saying: “Recalled in defence after recovering from a knee injury, had a challenging afternoon.”
And for The Independent, Jamie Braidwood also gave him a five, adding: “Lost Ronaldo for United’s opener and was then beaten by the Portuguese for his second goal after the break. Was playing out of position and it showed at times.”
Hayden’s display was incredibly lightweight in a game where he needed to stand strong in the face of intense pressure.
While Woodman will take the brunt of the criticism, and understandably so, Hayden’s performance did nothing to stop Ronaldo or United in their tracks.