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Forgotten Newcastle star reveals problem with 'frustrating clubs these days'

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NEWCASTLE forgotten man Isaac Hayden wants to rebuild his career with QPR after two years of turmoil.

The on-loan midfielder — who Rafa Benitez signed in 2016 — had three knee surgeries in the space of a year which put paid to his previous two seasons.

Newcastle loanee Isaac Hayden wants to rebuild his career with QPR

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Newcastle loanee Isaac Hayden wants to rebuild his career with QPRCredit: Getty
Hayden claimed he 'didn't get paid' while on loan to Belgium side Standard Liege

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Hayden claimed he ‘didn’t get paid’ while on loan to Belgium side Standard LiegeCredit: Rex

And now he hopes the Magpies can come to a settlement with him this summer — with his contract still having two more years left to run.

His injury troubles began in December 2021 which ended his chances of being involved in Eddie Howe’s plans going forward.

And those problems persisted while he was on loan at Norwich last season.

First he could not start his campaign until October due to a “corrective procedure” and was out for another three-and-a-half months after going under the knife again.

And this season has been frustrating for other reasons.

After missing out on a number of loan moves in England, he found himself at Standard Liege — but that was cut short after the Belgium club kept failing to pay him on time.

The 29-year-old told SunSport: “Last summer it was difficult to find a club because my injuries and the wage contribution Newcastle were looking for was putting people off.

“After failing to get a number of deals over the line, it was decided the Belgium league would be good because they were only playing one game a week so I could get into a rhythm without worrying about Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday.

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“That was going well but then I either didn’t get paid or it was very late.”

Hayden was signed by Benitez when Newcastle were in the Championship and went on to make 171 appearances in all competitions.

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After winning the second tier in 2017, he finished 10th, 13th and 13th in his three full Premier League seasons on Tyneside.

Yet Howe told him he was surplus to requirements after he got crocked and the club asked him to move on. But his deal does not expire until the summer of 2026.

And he said: “Unfortunately clubs these days can be frustrating.

“Let’s say I was in a position where I was playing every week and Manchester United or Real Madrid wanted to sign me, they’d turn around and say: “Actually, you’ve got three years left so you’re not going!”

“When it’s the other way round, they want you to leave — but I signed a contract.

“It’s unfortunate I got injured. Had I not, I wouldn’t have missed out on the 25-man squad that Howe named for the second half of that 2021-22 season

“I had three surgeries on the same part of my body in a calendar year and to come back from that isn’t easy.

“You find yourself way behind everybody else. You’re always playing catch up.

“Then things move quickly in football and you move on. But it’s a situation where myself and the club will have to sit down in the summer and discuss what they want to do.

“I had to take a pay-cut to go to QPR, which I was happy to do for the last few months of the season, to get games.

“But it’ll be back to square one in the summer but hopefully I can help keep QPR up and would love to stay here if possible.”

Hayden has played for two of Europe’s top managers Arsene Wenger and Benitez.

The midfielder came through the ranks at Arsenal from the age of eight and was there until 21.

And, although he had only played two games for the Gunners in the League Cup, Benitez signed him.

Hayden said: “Rafa was amazing. The level of detail and help he gave me as a young player was huge.

“I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to go to Newcastle if it wasn’t for him. He was specific in what he wanted.

“He did a lot of homework on every player he signed. I believe I repaid him and ultimately we became a stable Premier League club again.

“It’s a shame it didn’t work out for him and he couldn’t have stayed longer because had he been given more money to spend he could’ve achieved more.

“But it was difficult for Mike Ashley at the time to put his hand in his pocket and spend more than the club generated.

“He wasn’t in the same financial bracket as the owners of United, City and Chelsea — and neither was the club with their commercial revenue. That’s something Newcastle have improved now with their current owners.”

Although Hayden has been told by Howe he has no future there, he holds no hard feelings and is a big fan.

He said: “Eddie’s very intense. If you don’t come in to work or training 100 percent switched on, then ready to put in 110 percent, you’ll get found wanting with him.

“He’s honest and fair. He’ll tell you what he thinks, whether you like it or not.

“I played a few games for him before I got injured but then things change.

“There are no hard feelings. I told him, ‘It’s a shame I didn’t get a chance to work with you for a couple of years before because I’d have developed a lot more.

“He’d stimulate you mentally and before my injury he had me in my best-ever physical shape.”

Hayden has enjoyed being reunited with his former Toon team-mate Jack Colback at Loftus Road — while he is also playing with Newcastle striker Joe Willock’s older brother Chris.

And he said: “Jack was always class and we won the Championship together. It was mostly myself, Jack and Jonjo Shelvey playing in the two No6 positions for Rafa and he’d rotate us. It’s great to play with him again.

“I also knew Chris from when I was at Arsenal.”

QPR were in real danger of relegation but since Marti Cifuentes took over at the end of October has given them a real chance of staying up.

And Hayden said: “To come in and change the whole way they play and pick up results has been brilliant. Hopefully we stay up and I’d love to potentially be here next season.”

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