Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Newcastle’s Number 9 Turns 26: A Look At How He’s Earned The Admiration Of The Toon

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Amit Mishra
Former Editor at The 4th Official. Liverpool and Schalke make my life miserable.

Newcastle’s recent run of four wins in a row has seen them top the Championship table and with some favourable fixtures coming up, expect the Magpies to stay at the summit for a few more weeks. Rafa Benitez’s side have been pretty clinical in recent weeks and Dwight Gayle can’t scoring it seems as he’s mustered seven goals in his last four games. With an incredible strike rate of a goal every 87 minutes, Gayle has surprised quite a few, including the Toon who had presumed it would be Mitrovic or Perez leading the line more often than not and do the goal-scoring.

After a spell with Crystal Palace where he did pretty well when he was called upon, Gayle was still not given a regular run out in the team as many presumed he didn’t have what it takes to succeed in the more intense and physical top tier. What didn’t help is the fact that Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew is pretty one-dimensional when it comes to his setup.

Gayle has done it before in the Championship when he was with Peterborough. The lad scored 13 goals in 29 games back then and was the shining light in an otherwise miserable season for the side as they ended up getting relegated. Gayle’s performances, however, earned him a move to Crystal Palace.

The jumps from the League two (while he was with Dagenham and Redbridge) to the Championship and then finally to the Premier League was quick. Having said that, it perhaps came a bit too quick as he failed to keep his development owing to inconsistent game time at Crystal Palace, something he is getting at the moment in Tyneside.

Gayle turned 26 today (Many Happy returns!) and is pretty much entering a period where strikers tend to be at their peak. It’s also coinciding with a brilliant run with Newcastle United, where his predatory instincts have come to the fore. He’s perhaps the ideal player you’d want in the Championship. He isn’t the strongest and won’t win you aerial battles, nor is he the most skillful. But what he lacks in those departments, he sure makes up with his incredible finishing and work rate.

Newcastle’s number 9 has earned the adulation of the Toon and if he keeps going the way he is right now, he’ll lead them back to the Premier League. At the moment, the 10 million quid Newcastle spent on the striker is turning out to be a pretty good deal.

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