The player who deserves to captain Newcastle United wears #14

Isaac Hayden of Newcastle United. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
Isaac Hayden of Newcastle United. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images) /

Newcastle United should really consider changing their captain and vice-captain. Isaac Hayden is the only true leader in this team.

Newcastle United are eight points clear of the drop, which is impressive at this stage in the season, but that can all change over the next week or so. With games against Manchester City, Liverpool, and Leicester City next up on the schedule, the Magpies could be dragged into the relegation zone if they take nothing from those fixtures.

Based on their embarrassing performances against Leeds United (2-5), Fulham (1-1), and Brentford (0-1), Newcastle United are entering crisis mode, and more embarrassment is coming their way unless some players decide to wake up and perform.

Steve Bruce and his tactics have been questioned for the last 18 months and his low football acumen as a manager is holding this team back. There is no doubt about that. As a result, the body language of the players and their lack of urgency on the pitch is a telling sign that Bruce has lost the dressing room.

Captain Jamaal Lascelles has proven time and time again that he is not an effective leader, and fill-in captain Jonjo Shelvey is only a general on the field when he feels like it. Over the last few weeks, Shelvey has not been influential in his role, he is not heavily involved in the action higher up the pitch, and his defensive assistance has been minimal.

With that kind of attitude and energy it is impossible to rile up others around him. One player who has been acting as a leader and serving as true role model for his teammates is Isaac Hayden. The 25-year-old has gained a reputation as being of one only a handful of reliable players in this squad.

It is extremely difficult to remember Hayden’s last bad game in a black and white shirt. Maybe the game against Cardiff City, in which he departed early on with a red card? Yeah, that was bad, but that was back in 2018.

Hayden has been a rock in midfield for Newcastle United ever since that game, and the new contract he signed was well-deserved. His ability and willingness to frequently disrupt counter-attacks, recover the ball, and put his body on the line to end dangerous build-ups is admirable.

Moreover, Hayden is naturally a defensive midfielder in the center circle, but he has put his versatility on display for all to see. Bruce has asked him to play as a central defender on a few occasions as of late and he has been the best defender. There were also a few times last season when Bruce started Hayden as a wing-back in a back five.

Hayden never complained, instead he laced his boots and performed to the best of his abilities. Why? Only he can answer this question in his own words, but it is quite obvious from the fans’ perspective: he lives and breathes Newcastle United.

A captain is not just a player who commands respect in the dressing room, serves as a vocal leader and coordinator on the pitch, but someone who understands the value of the jersey he is wearing. Unlike some players, Hayden needs no reminder to be motivated when suiting up for the Toon. He deserves to be the new captain of Newcastle United.