Dwight Gayle has been named as the ‘most overrated player’ in the Newcastle squad this season according to TalkSport.
The United number nine has managed just five goals in the Premier League this season after scoring 23 in the Championship last term, providing the goals that ensured Newcastle were promoted as champions after arriving the previous summer in a £10 million deal from Crystal Palace.
Despite not being a prolific top-flight goalscorer for Palace – netting just 15 times in 64 games across three seasons – it seems odd that TalkSport have flagged up his lack of goals for Newcastle this term despite his mediocre track record.
And the broadcaster is forgetting Gayle’s role in the wider context of how Newcastle play under Rafa Benitez; the United boss often setting his side up to play on the counter-attack meaning there are limited scoring opportunities for the 27-year-old.
Despite his limitations, Gayle has scored against Chelsea and Manchester United this season, also assisting Matt Ritchie’s goal in the 1-0 victory over the Red Devils last month – just one of three assists he has recorded.
Gayle has actually been directly involved in eight goals in his 27 games this season. Not a bad impact ratio for a player deemed to be “not consistent enough”.
And, in any case, it’s no fault of Gayle’s that he is regularly pitched into a lone-striker role by Benitez, being one of only three first-team forwards on the books at St James’ Park.
His form in 2018 has measurably improved, culminating in an excellent display during the 3-0 win over Southampton, in which he set up Kenedy’s second goal with an intelligent and highly unselfish pass across goal when he could have taken it on himself.
In the minds of the majority of Magpies fans, Gayle is much appreciated on Tyneside.
“Dwight Gayle has had his moments in black and white, but isn’t consistent enough in front of goal to justify his reputation as the danger man in Newcastle’s attack. In 20119, Gayle has made 11 appearances for the Magpies, hitting the back of the net in just one game at Bournemouth.”