There are times in the life of a professional football player, when the sport takes a back seat.
On two occasions, Isaac Hayden asked to leave Newcastle United in order to relocate closer to his fiancee and daughter, who was born prematurely. After the former Arsenal man was sent off against Cardiff City for a reckless tackle, his time at the club appeared to be over.
Rafael Benitez indicated that Hayden was not in the right frame of mind to be a regular in the Spaniards starting lineup. Hayden found himself out of Benitez's plans for the majority of the following four months.
Have to appologise to everyone for today, was a needless tackle and one that was stupid from me in that circumstance in the game. Will learn from it for sure and will be doing my upmost to repair my mistake today, for my teammates,manager and staff and fans in the future #NUFC— Isaac Hayden (@IsaacHayden65) August 18, 2018
Injuries in midfield saw Hayden return to action. A string of impressive performances helped cement his place in the starting eleven.
Hayden spoke to The Chronicle about his situation in January:
“It’s not a football decision for me, it’s purely for family reasons and my daughter will always come first for me, above any football. What’s best for her is my priority.
”It’s been a difficult six months for myself, but the club have known from the start what it’s been like. I’ve spoken to the manager and he knows what the situation is.
New manager Steve Bruce is confident he can persuade Hayden to remain on Tyneside. Bruce who worked with Hayden at Hull City, Bruce said the discussions with Hayden have been positive:
“Hopefully, that’ll be resolved. He’s indicated to me that (staying on) is going to be the case. I certainly hope so."
”We all want him to stay. He is the type of player that I enjoy working with. Let’s hope things can progress positively.”
Hayden has refused to let his personal life have an impact on his football. After a tough start to the season, Hayden didn't let his head drop - He continued to train hard and prove he still had something to offer the team.
Hayden's performances from January onwards showed how important he is to this Newcastle United side. A tough tackling midfielder with an eye for a pass, Hayden is very much an unsung hero.
Newcastle need the grit and determination that Hayden brings to the side. The midfielder struck up a fantastic relationship with Sean Longstaff - A catalyst for their push towards Premier League survival.
Should Hayden remain on Tyneside it would be a huge boost for Newcastle who have had a challenging summer.