Newcastle United player returns to full training after four-month lay-off

Newcastle United midfielder Isaac Hayden has been sidelined for four months after undergoing knee surgery.

Isaac Hayden is set to return to full training this week following his recovery from a knee injury.

The former Arsenal youngster underwent surgery in December and was then left out of Newcastle’s 25-man Premier League squad for the second-half of the campaign.

Eddie Howe was forced to cut five players from his squad to make way for January signings Kieran Trippier, Chris Wood, Bruno Guimaraes, Matt Targett and Dan Burn.

Hayden’s four-month recovery time saw Howe omit the midfielder along with Jamal Lewis, Ciaran Clark, plus Jeff Hendrick and Freddie Woodman, who are on loan at Queens Park Rangers and Bournemouth, respectively.

Fighting for a future at Newcastle

The 27-year-old is in a fight to preserve his Newcastle career as he faces competition from the likes of Guimaraes, Jonjo Shelvey, Joe Willock, Sean Longstaff and recently born midfielder Joelinton.

Howe says Hayden, who scored in the 1-1 draw at Brighton and Hove Albion in November, will be judged on his training displays ahead of the summer transfer window. It could be that the 2016 signing is handed an opportunity in pre-season.

“I think he is due to train next week,” Howe said, speaking prior to the 3-0 victory at Norwich City on Saturday afternoon, which saw United climb up to ninth in the Premier League table.

“It’ll be great to have him back with the group and then we’ll look at him and judge his performances in training and see what happens from there. We take every player’s future on an individual basis.

“There’s a lot of competition for places but Isaac has been the ultimate professional behind the scenes. He’s worked tirelessly to get back fit and done some very good work with the sports scientist and physio.”

Hayden has been forced to watch from the sidelines as his teammates surged towards top-flight safety with 10 wins so far in 2022 - form bettered only by title-chasing Liverpool, who visit St James’ Park in Saturday’s early kick-off (12:30pm).