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Dwight Gayle says he is up for the challenge – Reckless though to rely only on him for goals

5 years ago
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Whilst it would look a massive gamble for Newcastle to not bring in another quality goalscorer, it is equally obvious just how important Dwight Gayle will be this coming season.

Last season his 23 goals were a key part of the promotion picture and you can only wonder just how many he would have ended up with, if injury hadn’t prevented him making more than 26 league starts.

The striker admits ‘I have a lot of weight on my shoulders and I will have to do well next season’ – surely that weight of expectation has to be shared with at least one other new goalscorer, though they are the hardest to land in the transfer market.

As well as more spectacular goals last season, Dwight Gayle also showed that happy habit all good strikers have, of being in the right place at the right time. A mixture of luck and design, an instinct to gamble where the ball will land, something almost impossible to teach.

The problem with Gayle though, is that we can’t be confident of him being on the pitch for most of the season, as he acknowledged himself a week ago.

Dwight Gayle interviewed after scoring twice against Hearts – 14 July 2017:

‘Towards the back end of last season you were plagued by that hamstring trouble a little bit. That’s clearly behind you now, it is all in the past?’

“(Laughs!) I wouldn’t say that.

“Just seeing how it goes and fingers crossed I can get as many games as possible next season.”

Having had repeated hamstring problems in the last few years at both Crystal Palace and Newcastle, no wonder the striker is so cautious about predicting just how his fitness will go.

Last season, Gayle started 21 of the first 26 Championship matches but then only five of the remaining 20 league games as hamstring problems struck yet again.

Newcastle ended up crawling over the finishing line when at one point they looked like having a stress free promotion season with Dwight Gayle seemingly set to break all kinds of records.

Those final 20 games saw a run at one point of eight matches where in only one of them Newcastle scored more than one goal in a game.

Dwight Gayle talking to the Chronicle:

“You obviously know the history of it (the number nine shirt) and how much people rely on that number 9 to do well.

“I know that I have a lot of weight on my shoulders and I will have to do well next season.

“As I said last season, I don’t have too many targets, just to try my best.

“To go out and get as many goals as I can, then see where that takes me.

“I wouldn’t say it (scoring goals) was a knack, it’s sometimes a bit of luck, things drop for me in the right areas.

“As I have said before, the quality behind me is fantastic and I love playing with some of the players we have got here.

“As long as that continues, I will continue to do well I hope.

“If that is the case then I am sure everyone will be happy.”

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