Dwight Gayle wondering if he can prove the doubters wrong
Dwight Gayle has had a Premier League season with a bit of everything really.
Starting the season against Spurs and Huddersfield he clearly wasn’t right, with ongoing hamstring problems still plaguing him.
After those two defeats Newcastle picked up but Dwight Gayle didn’t start another Premier League match until 4 November, a 1-0 home loss to Bournemouth.
He then scored in three of the next four games, excellent goals against Man Utd, Chelsea and Leicester, only for Newcastle to lose all of those matches.
However, starting with the 3-2 away win at West Ham, Dwight Gayle has now started 11 of these last 14 PL matches, NUFC picking up six win, four draws and just one defeat.
The player maybe feeling the Newcastle fans are registering more his lack of goals (only five so far, to be joint top PL scorer…) than the team role he tends to be playing now, compared to the out and out striking role in the Championship. Only in one of these last 11 games has Gayle scored, twice in the 2-2 draw at Bournemouth.
He was integral to the equaliser against Arsenal but then when Islam Slimani replaced Dwight Gayle, we saw glimpses of the striker that cost Leicester a club record £29m.
The player says he ‘knew there were going to be a lot of doubters’ this season, maybe the truth is that he is good enough for the Premier League, but more as a squad player – rather than automatic first choice number nine and the main hope for goals.
Dwight Gayle talking to the official match programme (v Arsenal):
“I knew there were going to be a lot of doubters and people who wouldn’t perhaps think I could do it in the Premier League.
“Ultimately, I haven’t scored as many goals as I would have liked, so I’ve still got a lot to prove.
“At Crystal Palace, I felt that I scored goals when I played, but I perhaps wasn’t giving a lot to the team so I didn’t start as many games as I would have liked.
“This season, after the first 10 or 15 games, I’ve played a lot more and I think that was the thing I was looking to do this season. If I can mix that with goals, that would be perfect.
“I try not to think about it, really. I just try and focus on myself. It’s all there for everyone to see really.
“I haven’t ever had a sensational season in the Premier League so even for myself, I know that I need to perform better and do better.
“But that’s something I need to concentrate on myself, and it just adds to the drive.
“But I want to just enjoy it and get the most I can out of it. It’s not going to be here forever, so just enjoy the time.
“I feel like it was a bit of a rush when I was there (in the Premier League with Palace) last time, it all happened so quickly and I didn’t really get time to take an outside look on it and just enjoy it.
“It’s a nice place to be around (at Newcastle United). I think I’m there to annoy people.
“Before the games, there are people trying to gear people up, and people concentrating on their own jobs.
“There are a few of us that try and get people going and pick each other up – Jamaal being one of them, and a couple of the older boys.
“It’s just trying to get everyone really focused, and just giving people the belief and reminding people what we have to do.
“I wouldn’t say it’s totally the perfect role for me, but I do enjoy it. I know we all need to be on it, and sometimes an extra word or an extra person getting involved just helps people stay focused and concentrate, I suppose.”
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