The summer of discontent continues at Newcastle United. However, there was a small sliver of hope offered at the weekend as we beat fellow Premier League team Norwich City in our final pre-season match.
There are concerns about the lack of cover for Callum Wilson. It is likely to burn us at some point in the season, but the two goals scored by Dwight Gayle showed that we do have another striking option in the squad.
Over the last couple of years, he has been criticised for his body language. At times, it does look like he lacks the motivation to play for the club , following a lean couple of years in front of goal.
That said, he looked back to his best against Norwich and reminded the fans that if given the chances, he can score goals. He’s also had a full pre-season under his belt for the first time in a few years.
During his Newcastle career, he has scored 11 Premier League goals, at a rate of one every 301.5 minutes. If he played every minute of the season and maintained that rate, he would reach 11 Premier League goals. Considering a lot of his minutes have been in fits and starts, it isn’t a bad goal rate.
The last time he was given a run of starts following the first lockdown at the end of the 2019/20 season, he scored a four goals in our final eight games. He showed that he can be a threat in the Premier League.
At the age of 31, he is reaching the twilight years of his career. His lack of minutes in recent seasons means that he should have a lot more in the legs than others at his age. Against Norwich, his pace was still there and his movement was excellent. Gayle knows how to get into goal-scoring positions and that is why he is still an asset for us.
Ideally, we would bring another striker in to compete with Callum Wilson. However, as the takeover lingers on, we need to make the most of the assets we have.
Some will have written off Gayle as not being good enough for this division. He will never be a 20 goal a season striker in the Premier League, but he has the quality to contribute key goals. Last season, he got the winner against West Brom, earning us three key points following our Covid outbreak.
Gayle still has something to offer. The final pre-season friendly was a reminder of what he can offer. If he is motivated this season, we could see the 31-year-old have a renaissance of sorts.