ISAAC Hayden will figure in a first team match at Roots Hall tonight – just as the Shrimpers youth team chief Ricky Duncan first predicted 11 years ago.

Hayden shone with Southend United as a youngster before leaving to join Arsenal at the age of 13.

But the England youth international has now teamed up with Newcastle United and Duncan will be an interested spectator this evening.

“Isaac was one who stood out like a sore thumb as soon as I came back to Southend,” recalled Duncan.

“He was a very talented boy who had been at the club for about five years when I returned and you could tell straight away that he had real ability and potential.

“You can never be certain if somebody of that age will go on to make it because a lot can happen but Isaac was one you knew would have an outstanding chance of making it.

“We obviously wanted that to be with us but our academy wasn’t as strong back then as it is now so I could understand his decision to leave.”

Hayden’s move from Arsenal to Newcastle, for a reported £2million this summer, also boosted Blues financially.

Shrimpers’ club chiefs refused to comment on the size of the sell-on clause but it is understood they could receive around £300,000.