Rafa Benitez discusses his Dwight Gayle dilemma ahead of Norwich-Newcastle

Rafa Benitez believes the return of Dwight Gayle will give Newcastle United another dimension.

Dwight Gayle
Dwight Gayle

Gayle has been sidelined for the past four weeks with a hamstring problem.

But the 20-goal striker is in Benitez’s squad for tonight’s game against Norwich City at Carrow Road.

Aleksandar Mitrovic and Daryl Murphy have weighed in with important goals in his absence.

However, Benitez still believes that United have missed Gayle’s pace and ability get in behind teams.

Asked how much Newcastle had missed Gayle, Benitez said: “Not in terms of what we were doing, because still we were winning games.

“But the way that we were playing has changed, because he is different to Murphy or Mitrovic.

“Daryl and Mitro, they were scoring goals and playing well with this style, but he’s different.

“Dwight is someone who can run behind defenders, with quick movements, and they’re more of a targetman-type. Dwight has scored goals at home because he has very clever movements.

“But away, because he has pace and has more space, he is even more important because he can pass defenders and he can be a threat all the time.”

Gayle – who scored a hat-trick against Norwich in September – could be handed a start at Carrow Road.

“He’s in the squad, and we have to see,” said Benitez. “We will see how he feels and then we will decide.

“He is fully ready. He has been training all week and doing everything.

“When you have a player coming back, then you have to be sure that his sprints, change of direction, shooting are all OK and he has been doing everything.

“He’s fine and his training sessions have been brilliant.”