Dwight Gayle started 21 of Newcastle’s first 26 Championship matches last season, scoring 20 goals.

After scoring and picking up yet another hamstring injury against Brentford on 14 January 2017, Gayle then missed a number of matches, returning for the Aston Villa home match on 20 February.

A week before that Villa game, Rafa Benitez suggested that getting his main striker back playing, was at least as much a mental thing as a physical thing, saying ‘It depends on him…he has trained OK. But sometimes it is the confidence of the player, so we will see how he feels.’

After only 33 minutes of that Villa game, Dwight Gayle was subbed, saying he didn’t feel right.

In the final 20 games of the Championship season, he only started five matches and score three goals, with ongoing worries about Dwight Gayle feeling confident of playing again without worries over his recurring hamstring problems.

Kicking off the friendlies with both goals in a 2-1 win at Hearts, Newcastle’s number nine burst out laughing when it was suggested after the game that his hamstring problems were ‘clearly behind’ him. Saying ‘I wouldn’t say that. Just seeing how it goes and fingers crossed’.

With just 30 minutes in the last three friendlies and no time on the pitch in the last two games, Dwight Gayle’s fears appear to have proved correct.

However, just like back in February, Rafa Benitez once again says it is very much a ‘confidence’ thing, rather than purely a hamstring issue.

A key part of the forward’s game is his pace and Rafa says that Dwight Gayle has to regain the ‘confidence to know he can sprint’ and that they are working in training to try and help him do that.

The last player Newcastle needed to have missing this coming season, with a ‘hamstring niggle’ and ‘confidence’ issues, difficult to see Gayle starting against Spurs – so best hope is we could see him on the bench and potentially involved in a cameo later on, with a first Premier League start for Newcastle just around the corner.

Just like Dwight Gayle, Newcastle fans will have ‘fingers crossed’.

Rafa Benitez – 6 August 2017:

”It’s not his hamstring – it’s more the feeling that he has. He’s not comfortable and we don’t want to take any risks.

“Dwight is training with the fitness coach, so hopefully he can carry on training this week.

“He needs the confidence to know he can sprint and do everything as he was doing before.

“It’s a question of confidence, so we will carry on pushing him in training and hopefully we can get back the confidence.”

Dwight Gayle interviewed – 15 July 2017 (after scoring twice v Hearts):

‘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?’

In response, Dwight Gayle burst out laughing at the playing down of his injury problems and said:

“I wouldn’t say that. Just seeing how it goes and fingers crossed I can get as many games as possible next season.”

Rafa Benitez – 13 February 2017:

“It depends on him (Dwight Gayle).

“He is training with the team and he has trained OK.

“But sometimes it is the confidence of the player, so we will see how he feels.”

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Is it any wonder Rafa`s screaming for a striker when your top man is out for 20 games a season with hamstring problems, we haven`t kicked a ball in anger yet & Gayle is unlikely to start against Spurs.

    • Wor Lass

      Where are you, Sid?

  • magpiefifer

    It’s a very worrying situation when we are short of striking quality in the current squad and our most potent striker has an injury record which will probably result in him being missing for many games!

    • Jezza

      Dwight Gayle is more than our most potent striker he is the only half decent striker on our books.

  • brin mcardle

    Rafa will go…he must go..totally stitched up..without Gayle we are buggered..this club has so much money and we dont spend it

    • East Durham Mag

      No mate the Fat One has the money and he won’t spend it.

  • Steve Smith

    Gayle will be fit enough to play against spurs (not injury free).

    Rafa is just playing mind games with Pochettino and Ashley.

    • Andy Mac

      We shall see ! 🤔

  • joolzyoungman07

    Gayle’s always had a touch of Sturridge-itis in him so this comes as no great surprise. Can’t understand why Penfold shifted Murphy if we weren’t intent on bringing in another striker

  • Albert Stubbins

    If Mitro starts we’re in trouble- sorry to say but the spuds defence will have an incredibly easy day- no pace and power and has been poor pre season. Hopefully we will have another one in before the big kick off- good incentive for the Arsenal lad if we get him in for the spuds game- fingers crossed.

    • Alreet

      Thing is. Mitro caused havok among many defences in the 15-16 season. The problem was his dicipline and finishing. Now rafa doesnt want him thats fair dos but at the moment i wouldnt hang him out to dry. If no one wants to buy an international striker at a reasonable price we cant just be taking hit after hit on these players. They all….besides saivet and riviere……have a value.

  • Andy Mac

    Wow and we havent bought another striker because……………………………………..🤔

    • TheNutJob

      we`re skint, shops shut

  • Leicester Mag

    When we sold Sir Les we gambled on having Shearer / Tino and Thomasson. At the time the risk did not pay off. Puts the current ridiculous gamble into perspective

    • Leazes Ender

      Russian Roulette again and again.

      • Leicester Mag

        Eye but we are likely armed with a water pistol

  • Jimblag23

    Remember when Wycombe signed Roy Essandoh by placing a vacancy for a striker on teletext?
    It’s getting to that level of desperation for us now.

  • 1957

    It brings into sharp focus our lack of numbers in the squad in some positions.

    From Benitez comments you have to assume Gayle has had a scan and it is clear, he needs to be thrown into the team and told to get on with it. If he can’t trust himself despite being reassured he is ok he’s no use to us. He should be busting a gut to get on the pitch for that first game, instead he is beginning to sound like little Michael.

    • Clarko

      I don’t agree with your “lack of numbers in the squad in some positions” comment. Below is a list of the squad.

      GK: Elliot, Darlow, Woodman
      RB: Manquillo, Yedlin
      CB: Lejeune, Clark, Lascelles, Mbemba
      LB: Dummett, Gamez
      CM: Shelvey, Hayden, Merino, Colback
      RM: Ritchie, Murphy
      LM: Atsu, Aarons
      CAM: Perez, Diame, De Jong
      ST: Gayle, Mitrovic

      Notable Unwanted Players: Krul, Hanley, Lazaar, Haidara, Saivet, Riviere

      We have two (competitive) lineups, I’m not saying that the squad shouldn’t or doesn’t need improving I’m saying the squad doesn’t “lack” in numbers.

      • Soldier

        the numbers are there, the quality isn`t

        • Clarko

          That wasn’t my argument. However I do think the squad has enough quality to stay up and I do think that is a reasonable, realistic target.

          • Soldier

            i know it wasn`t your argument but it`s mine. it won`t get relegated if Rafa stays

          • Clarko

            Then make your argument in just a regular comment next time and not in a reply.

            You have turned to hypotheticals, without those hypotheticals you believe the squad has enough quality to avoid relegation so you don’t really have an actual argument to make. It’s all a bit pointless.

          • MichaelMaximusMoose

            like most of your posts pointless, go play with your Train Set

          • Clarko

            Try reading a book.

          • Alreet

            Agreed. I do want at least 1 striker and another midfielder but big raf knows.

  • Soldier

    Mike`s law, the old stock must go before we buy any new. the shopkeepers bible

    • Jimblag23

      To be honest that’s a fair enough view.

  • Alreet

    I dont like the current situation as much as anyone. We know we arent hitting the heights of 30 mill here and there for players anymore. Its not that we cant it more that we shouldnt.

    In a world where 100 mill is the norm and just accepted for a player of good quality it gets me thinking. The original monster of Ronaldo went at the time for 12 mill. Then shearer broke that at 15. Now it was always going to go higher with investments all over the place but what value for a ronaldo. A zidane. Ronaldinho. Gazza. I could go on.

    This sort of thing will only end when coaches actually coach. Using man management skills and teaching players how to use their talent. Not oooh we need a midfielder. Give us 50 mill mr MD hes worth it.

    What if these players get injured. Lose form. Get their game sussed by a 20 year old academy product. Turn on the gaffer. Lets see another payday elsewhere for another inhuman sum.

    We need to be a little more wise than throwing 20.30.40 million at one player. We can but we shouldnt.

    We wont go down. Rafa will get another striker and next season we might have more young guys coming through which then avoids having to spend 90 mill.

  • Down Under Mag

    Understandable when it’s been recurring for so many injuries…the player must feel a bit hesitant to fully test it and push hard in case he breaks down again. At least Rafa isnt doing a Pardew and throwing them back in too soon and losing them again.