The Newcastle midfielder earned his stripes under Benitez and emerged as one of the most important players at the club during the Spaniard’s reign at St. James’ Park.


Hayden remains immensely grateful towards Benitez and what he did for his career, and admits the Spaniard was all about set patterns and organisation, being clear about following certain plans.



The midfielder revealed that Bruce is cut from a different cloth and feels the current Newcastle boss is much more instinctive and is prepared to change things around through his experience.


Hayden stressed that Benitez might not have appreciated the enigmatic nature of Allan Saint-Maximin and wanted his players to almost function like robots.



The midfielder told The Athletic: “I’ve already said that Rafa was like a dad to me.


“He was very organised and clinical.


“Everything was planned.


“When we didn’t win for 10 league games at the start of his last season, we kept on doing the same things because he was so clear in his own head about the plan.



“With Steve, it’s more about feel.


“If something doesn’t feel quite right, he’ll use his experience to say or do something different.


“With Rafa, you almost had to move and act like robots — move a yard this way, move a yard that way.


“If you put Rafa with Allan Saint-Maximin, would it be the same? No, because their personalities wouldn’t match in the same way.


“It’s just different. It’s not fair to compare.


“And I think everyone forgets the circumstances Steve came into.


“He arrived late, new players arrived late and he hadn’t really chosen them.


“It was tough.”


Bruce has continued to struggle to win over the Newcastle fans and currently has the Magpies sitting in 14th in the Premier League with eight points from six games.