Rafa Benitez gives Dwight Gayle injury update ahead of Newcastle's season-opener against Tottenham

Dwight Gayle
Dwight Gayle

Rafa Benitez is still hopeful that Dwight Gayle will be fit to face Tottenham Hotspur.

The striker missed yesterday’s 2-0 win over Hellas Verona at St James’s Park.

And Benitez is sweating on his fitness for Sunday’s season-opener.

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After the match Benitez said Gayle – who was troubled by hamstring problems in the second half of last season – was “not comfortable” in training in the build up to the club’s final pre-season friendly.

Asked about Gayle, United’s manager said: “He’s fine.

Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez

“Dwight is training with the fitness coach, so hopefully he can carry on training this week.

“If everything is fine, I think he will be OK for Sunday.

“He needs the confidence to know he can sprint and do everything as he was doing before.

“It’s a question of confidence, so we will carry on pushing him in training, and hopefully we can get back the confidence.”

Asked if it was a hamstring problem, Benitez added: “It’s not his hamstring – it’s more the feeling that he has.

“He’s not comfortable, and we don’t want to take any risks.”

Gayle had been an unused substitute for last Wednesday’s game against Wolfsburg at the AOK Stadion in Germany.

Benitez fielded Aleksandar Mitrovic up front against Fabio Pecchia’s Verona.

And forward Perez was used in a more advanced position after Mitrovic’s second-half withdrawal.

Gayle, signed from Crystal Palace last summer, scored 23 goals in Newcastle’s Championship-winning campaign.