Dwight Gayle says Newcastle United doesn’t have the air of a relegated club – thanks to Rafa Benitez.
Gayle arrived last week from Crystal Palace in a £10million deal.
The first thing a striker wants to do in the Championship is set a target of about 20. After each game I will take the next as it goes and see how that target goes.Dwight Gayle
And the forward – who has labelled the move a “dream come true” – can’t wait to get started at St James’s Park.
“It has been great so far,” said the 25-year-old.
“The boys have made me feel really welcome. Seeing some of the ability out on the field has been brilliant, and I am looking forward to it.
“I remember when I was walking upstairs to sign, it was a bit of a dream come true for me.
“When (St James’s Park) is fully packed, I will be a bit shocked in those first few games, but this is a great club and I am looking forward to it.”
Gayle has been taken by the positivity both inside and outside the club given that it was relegated from the Premier League two months ago.
Benitez’s decision to stay at United quickly lifted some of the post-season gloom.
And the arrivals of Gayle, Matt Ritchie and Matz Sels have buoyed fans ahead of what will be a challenging and demanding 46-game season in English football’s second tier.
“If anything I feels like they have come up from the division below, almost,” said Gayle.
“It feels like everyone is optimistic about the season and everyone is buzzing. It looks like it will be a positive season.
“I like the extra games. I’m not sure I will say that come December.
“A lot of players say they would prefer to play games than extra training sessions.
“It’s a life-changing move for me, coming further north.
“I’m looking forward to it. I will be a tough season, 46 games, but it will be an enjoyable experience.
“Hopefully, it will improve me as a person as much as player.”
Gayle spoke to former United winger Andros Townsend before heading to Tyneside.
Townsend had moved in the opposite direction shortly before Newcastle lodged a formal bid for Gayle, who joined Palace from Peterborough three years ago.
Palace manager Alan Pardew also wished him all the best at his former club.
“My agent said Newcastle were interested,” said Gayle.
“I spoke to a few ex-players who told me how good of a manager he was to work under and how good a coach he is.
“That drew me to the club, and obviously I know how big the club is and how made people are about the football up here. It was a no brainer for me really.
“Maybe there was a little bit at the back of my mind about dropping back down to the Championship, but I was adamant I was coming here. It was the only club for me to join.
“Andros said how good it was here, he told me I should definitely come and that it was a great experience here and he loved his short time here.”
Gayle – who prefers to play as an out-and-out striker – is confident he can handle the pressure that comes with leading the line at United.
“I try not to think about it,” he said. “I want to do my best for the team.
“I will work hard on the training ground, and hopefully do what I can to the best of my ability. The rest will take care of itself.
“The first thing a striker wants to do in the Championship is set a target of about 20 (goals).
“After each game, I will take the next as it goes, and see how that target goes.”