Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic reflects on his return to goalscoring form on international stage

Dwight Gayle is replaced by Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Dwight Gayle is replaced by Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Newcastle United striker Aleksandar Mitrovic has handed manager Rafa Benitez a timely boost by getting among the goals for Serbia.

The controversial frontman netted a cracker from the edge of the area in his country's 3-1 World Cup qualification win over Georgia, which was only his second strike of 2017.

And ahead of this weekend's return to domestic action, he's put his hat in the ring for a return to the Magpies first-team, having not kicked a ball in United's last four Championship outings.

Speaking about his international goal, he said: "It’s a long time since I scored a goal from outside the area. I even surprised myself."

The 22-year-old has been linked with a move away from St James's Park in each of the last two transfer windows.

French giants Paris St-Germain were said to be keen to take him off United's hands in January, while a host of Premier League clubs, including West Ham and Crystal Palace have been mentioned as potential future destinations.

His hot-headed style of play saw his gametime limited earlier in his Newcastle career, but of late it has been his lack of precision in front of goal which has seen him shunned, as United look to return to the top flight at the first time of asking.

Daryl Murphy has been preferred, with even Yoan Gouffran and Ayoze Perez given runs up front, instead of the ex-Anderlecht man.

The return of Dwight Gayle is almost certain to limit his minutes further also.

Mitro understands that he must take his chances when they are offered. And the only way to do that is by improving his strikerate, having netted just six times this campaign, which is less than he got in the Premier League.

"The position where I play requires me to score goals," he said.

Reflecting on the international strike, he continued: "Dusan Tadic gave me a good ball and I turned and saw the goalkeeper had not covered that part of the goal.

"We did not play well – I do not know why we didn’t play well but we managed to get through it. We underestimated Georgia.

"We are on the way to the World Cup now but we must continue to work hard.

"There are still a lot of matches to play."

*Elsewhere, United striker Adam Armstrong scored the only goal of the game at England Under-20s ran out 1-0 winners over France on Saturday.