Newcastle picked up a vital three points at West Ham on Saturday, despite making life difficult for themselves, and the returning Isaac Hayden played a key role.

Hayden was restored to the starting lineup, which was always going to be the case following Sean Longstaff’s red card last weekend, but he partnered Jonjo Shelvey, as Sean’s brother Matty was relegated to the bench.

(Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and that was definitely the case with Hayden, as fans were thrilled to have the transformed midfielder back.

He and Shelvey overwhelmed the West Ham midfield, and never let them have a sniff of controlling the game.

Considering one of those opposing midfielders was England international Declan Rice, it was quite the performance from the ever-impressive Hayden.

He looked so comfortable, it was like he had never been away, despite being forced to sit out the last three games following his sending off at Leicester.

(Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

If anyone from the current England coaching set-up was watching the game today, they must be sending a glowing report back to Gareth Southgate.

Hayden taught Rice a lesson in football today, and it was the Newcastle midfielder who looked like the international star, and in truth, he must be close to becoming just that.

Newcastle must prioritise a new deal for Hayden

Of course, Shelvey also had a magnificent game, having hit the bar before grabbing his second goal of the season, and the pair were so good, Newcastle did not miss Sean Longstaff at all.

(Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

It is no surprise to Toon fans how well Hayden played, as he has been at the top of his game for almost a year now, and tying him down to a new deal on Tyneside must now be Newcastle’s top priority.

Hayden posted a celebratory message on Twitter after the game, and fans were quick to show their appreciation to have him back.

Here are a few of the replies:

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