Dwight Gayle has admitted that it’s been a frustrating season for him so far, watching on from the bench or the injury table more than he’s been starting, however he has vowed to keep working hard and prove to Benitez that he’s good enough to be in his starting 11 in the top flight.
After scoring 23 goals in 34 goals last season, it’s been clear to see something’s been up with Dwight Gayle of late. In a rare start against Bournemouth last time out, his disallowed goal should have actually stood, but as things stand, he’s gone 8 games without a goal so far this season – leaving a few questioning whether he can cut it in the top flight.
He looked energetic and razor sharp in front of goal this time last year, and whilst that was in the second tier of English football, he hasn’t looked in the same shape in more ways than one since suffering these reoccurring hamstring problems over the past 6 months or so.
Here’s what the NUFC number 9 had to say when reflecting on his and our season so far:
“It’s frustrating not playing but obviously the team have been doing really well so I understand it.
“I just need to keep working hard and prove to the gaffer that I can be in the starting 11.
“We had a bad result before the international break so it’s given us chance to work on a few things we needed to and then hopefully we carry that into the game at the weekend.
“When you don’t get the result or performance you want you prefer to get back out there as soon as you can and get it out of your system. But that will mean we’re all raring to go at the weekend.”
In his defence, he did look as good as he’s looked all season in the first-half of our eventual defeat to Bournemouth two weeks ago. He linked up well with Joselu, got on the ball more than he has in recent cameos and should have seen his ‘offside’ goal stand.
That being said, Rafa is unlikely to opt for a 4-4-2 system this weekend at Old Trafford, meaning Gayle could miss out at Man Utd – a fixture that clearly means a lot to him:
“Everyone knows how big Manchester United is and playing in front of 75,000 at Old Trafford is going to be special for the boys,”
“But we can’t get too overrun by it and we need to concentrate on the way we need to play because we need to pick up points.
“David Beckham was from the same area as me and he was a bit of an idol for myself, so I supported Man United growing up and I suppose I still have some feeling for them now.
“There’s been some great classics between the two clubs over the years and I’m sure there’ll be many more because it’s two massive clubs. The fans that support both are so passionate so it’s always going to be a big, dramatic game.
“You look forward to playing in games like this but obviously we need to remain focused and not let things get to you.”
I imagine Rafa will go for a big man up top in a bid to bring others into play and defend from the front against a tall United side, however I’m not expecting us to get many chances and you’d bank on someone like Gayle taking that one big chance over any other player at the club?
Let us know your thoughts on Gayle ahead of this weekend’s trip to face Man Utd. Would you give him the nod on Saturday, play two up top or prefer to see Rafa go with someone else?