Dwight Gayle on the return of Aleksandar Mitrovic at Newcastle – and the striker’s No 9 gesture

Aleksandar Mitrovic
Aleksandar Mitrovic

Dwight Gayle says he’d love to get the chance to play alongside Aleksandar Mitrovic – but the striker admits he can’t second-guess Rafa Benitez’s team selection.

Mitrovic made his first Championship appearance of the season against Queens Park Rangers on Tuesday night.

Me and him (Mitrovic) could work really well together. My runs off of his flick-ons would work well. But we’ve got some great different strikers here, and all different combinations would work well.

Dwight Gayle

And the 21-year-old scored in a stunning 6-0 win which lifted the club up to second in the league.

Gayle, the club’s new No 9, was an unused substitute at Loftus Road.

But could be recalled to the starting XI for tomorrow’s home game against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Gayle feels he and Mitrovic could combine well up front, though Benitez also has Ayoze Perez, outstanding against QPR, and new signing Daryl Murphy in his thoughts.

Asked about Mitrovic, Gayle said: “He’s a great striker, great hold-up player.

“Me and him could work really well together. My runs off of his flick-ons would work well.

“But we’ve got some great different strikers here, and all different combinations would work well.

“I think the competition is perfect for the team. We could have to go differently against each team. I think that’s what we need.

“The gaffer will pick the right players for each game.”

United manager Benitez planned to hold a shooting competition between Gayle and Mitrovic to decide who would get the No 9 jersey, previously worn by Papiss Cisse, this season.

But Mitrovic told Gayle that he should have the revered shirt on the eve of the campaign.

And it was a gesture that was appreciated by summer Gayle, who has scored four goals already this season.

“Obviously, Mitro and I both wanted the No 9 shirt, so the manager said that (a shooting competition) was the easiest way to decide it,” said the 25-year-old, signed from Crystal Palace for £10million.

“But then Mitro, before we want out to training, just said ‘here, Dwight, you have it’. That was it, really.

“It was a really nice gesture – very mature of him – and it was a sign of togetherness.

“We’re all together trying to do the same thing. It was nice of him.”