The reliable reporter claimed that Gayle’s lack of match fitness following his recent injury and his reputation for being more of a Championship marksman rather than a Premier League hitman may see his promotion to the starting XI postponed.
Waugh suggested this was the case despite revealing that Bruce did admire Gayle as he was a fan of the Englishman’s talents given that he tried to sign him for Aston Villa.
“Bruce is a fan of Gayle, who he attempted to sign while at Aston Villa, but the forward’s lack of match fitness, as well as his reputation as more of a Championship marksman, may mean his promotion into the starting XI is postponed,” wrote Waugh for the Athletic.
The Shield Gazette previously reported that Gayle could be in line to play against Wolves on Sunday after his cameo appearance in the 1-0 loss to Chelsea, but didn’t state whether Bruce was considering playing him from the start of the match. Given that Waugh suggests two valid reasons why Bruce should hesitate about unleashing Gayle into his starting line-ups anytime soon, you do feel the Magpies boss will use Gayle as an impact substitute for now. The 29-year-old clearly needs to be ease backed into action, as his injury not only saw him unavailable for the Magpies’ first seven league games of the season, but it disrupted his pre-season, so his fitness would have been clearly affected. Also, there’s no guarantee that he can cure the Magpies’ goalscoring problems upfront, so having him start games in the near future would be an unnecessary risk. Gayle has only managed to score 21 goals in 100 Premier League appearances, averaging a woeful 0.21 goals per game (Source: Premier League), and it’s worth noting only 36% of his attempted shots have hit the target, so it’s not like you can argue he’s been unlucky in front of goal. While every player should have a clean slate under Bruce, it doesn’t mean he should ignore the previous doubts there have been about Gayle’s top-flight pedigree.