Kevin Phillips revealed he had an approach to sign Newcastle United midfielder Isaac Hayden turned down while a coach at Stoke City.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, the former England international said he “heard murmurs” that the 25-year-old wanted to move further south before receiving a firm ‘no’ from the Tyneside club.
The Magpies confirmed in September that the midfielder had committed his long-term future to the club, penning a six-year deal at St. James’ Park.
Hayden was a late substitute in Sunday’s 2-1 win over Everton after Steve Bruce revealed that the centre-midfielder had been struggling with a niggling hamstring injury.
Phillips hailed the “underrated” Hayden and insisted Bruce was right to be cautious with the midfielder given the wealth of injury problems on Tyneside over the past 12 months.
“Hayden was a player that we enquired about when I was at Stoke,” he told Football Insider.
“I, we, heard murmurs that he wanted to move further south but when we enquired it was a straight no and the phone was put down. That tells you how highly they regard him at Newcastle.
“He is one of those very underrated players. He is one of those players who go under the radar a little bit but he is so important to that club.
“Steve has had to deal with so many injury problems throughout his time at Newcastle so hopefully he can stay fit.”
In other Newcastle United news, Noel Whelan blown away by “fantastic” player approached by Rangers last summer.