This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
As quoted by The Shields Gazette, Newcastle ace Isaac Hayden has opened up on why he thinks he hasn’t received a call-up to the England squad yet.
The 24-year-old has enjoyed an impressive start to the current campaign in the centre of midfield for Steve Bruce’s side, but missed out on a place in the Three Lions squad for the upcoming EURO 2020 qualifiers.
Now, Hayden has suggested England boss Gareth Southgate’s intent on getting more attacking players into the side has hurt his chances of a call-up.
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He said: “I think the issue is that with the way that England play, they tend to go with a lot more attacking, ‘flairy’ type of players in that area. They rarely restrain themselves – from what I see looking in from the outside, Gareth only really has one or two players who can play in that more (defensive) position.
“Unfortunately, for me, I’ve got Jordan Henderson, Liverpool captain and Champions League winner, who in the last couple of years has really stepped up his game to the levels where he is now. Then you’ve obviously also got Declan Rice, who’s 20, and who has quit the Ireland, so it’s difficult to leave him out.
“It’s difficult for me to get in there, but I think the most important thing for me is to just keep playing the games I’m doing. If I’m playing the games and performing to the required level, then if I get in, I get in. If not, I’ll carry on playing and working.”
Despite claims he wanted to move back to London with his family, Hayden stayed put at Newcastle over the summer, and has shown incredible professionalism in knuckling down and getting the job done.
The former Arsenal academy product can consider himself desperately unlucky to miss out on a place in the England squad. The holding midfield role is a specialist position, and the 24-year-old has taken to the task well under both Rafa Benitez and Steve Bruce.
If the comparison with the Liverpool star is unfair because the Reds tend to dominate games, then the fact Hayden’s numbers slightly better what Rice produced at West Ham too (2.9 tackles and 1.5 interceptions) should underline how unlucky the Newcastle man is.
Hayden’s biggest problem perhaps? He simply goes about his job with the minimum of fuss. But if he continues to keep up his form over the course of the campaign, Southgate would be foolish to ignore him.