The Arsenal Affair

The Arsenal Affair

Sunday, 12 July 2015

The Silent Ascension of Isaac Hayden

Football often comes down to timing, opportunities that look dead in the water can suddenly explode into life. With Arsenal's centre back pairing lacking in youth and the midfield needing more discipline, there maybe a chance for Arsenal to promote from within. Isaac Hayden has all the qualities to be the ace up Arsene Wenger's sleeve. If the Frenchman is willing to open the first team door many believe it is the versatile Hayden, who will walk through it.

At 6'2 the Englishman is strong in the challenge and composed on the ball. His reading of the game and elegant ball retention allow him to be as efficient as a defensive midfielder as he is a central defender. Hayden's calm and decisive manner highlight his leadership qualities that saw him Captain the developmental squad in 2013/14. It's more then likely the England youth international would have graced the first team more frequently last season if not for an injury that forced him out for seven months. The young Captain was certainly missed as Arsenal's second team conceded regularly. The previous season saw Hayden form a consistent partnership at Centre back with Stefan O'Connor, which couldnt help catch the eye of Wenger.


                       


Wenger has yet to sign an outfield player this season and whilst many have their opinions on who should arrive, most would agree Arsenal need to provide more depth to the spine of the team. Francis Coquelin has made the defensive midfield position his own, but 60 games a season is a lot to ask of one man, one would believe the club would benefit from having someone to rotate with Coquelin to relieve some of the pressure. Hayden may identify this as his biggest opportunity to impact upon the first team, Wenger, however, seems to view Isaac more as a cultured centre back. Arsenal are strong in this position with Mertesacker, Koscielny and Gabriel likely to contest the majority of games, but as we know injuries often happen to Arsenal and they tend to happen at the back. Calum Chambers will also be waiting in the wings, but despite showing potential he has not always been convincing. If Hayden was to receive a chance at centre back, it's clear there would be no margin for error.

So far Hayden has received two opportunities in the Arsenal team, both coming in the Capitial One Cup. His debut came in September 2013 against West Brom, he lined up in Midfield and played most of the game before Arsenal won on penalties. Last season he started at centre back alongside Chambers in the third-round loss to Southampton. Hayden completed the full 90 minutes and was impressive in his work. The Gunners lost to a penalty and Nathaniel Clyne 30-yard-drive, but Hayden was robust and efficient. His performance gave him a platform to build upon, but the progress was quickly halted as he suffered an ankle injury in November that kept him out until May.


                      

It's quite clear to see compared to the likes of Arturo Vidal, Morgan Schneiderlin or a Bender twin, Isaac Hayden is far from the most glamorous name that could muster some pre-season transfer giddiness. What the Englishman can offer is - A solid addition to our British core, with homegrown status. If Hayden's future is to lie in defence, who better then Steve Bould to coach Isaac into being the next great English centre back. We have not said those words for a long time, but I don't need to remind anybody we used to be England's main supply of defenders.

Any of a number of things could happen that prevent Isaac from reaching the first time. Our defender's could stay injury free, Wenger could buy another midfielder. Hayden's chance may simply not come. It would wise for him to not grow despondent and instead take the inspiration from Coquelin. A fruitful loan move could invigorate Hayden's chance. One way or another, he needs exposure to first team football at a high level. It maybe he waits for his chance in the Capital One Cup before moving on loan, but either way this will be a pivotal season for the Arsenal youngster. What is important to remember now is Isaac Hayden is a viable option for Arsenal.


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