Rafa Benitez addresses Dwight Gayle's Newcastle future amid Salomon Rondon interest

Rafa Benitez brushed off questions about Dwight Gayle's Newcastle United future – after leaving the striker on the bench.

Gayle was an unusued substitute for last night's 0-0 draw against Porto at the Estadio do Dragao along with Rob Elliot, Victor Fernandez and Josef Yarney.

The 27-year-old hadn't been involved in the club's 2-2 draw against Hull City four days earlier.

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Asked if Gayle was injured, United manager Benitez said: "No. We have too many players. We have to manage the players that we have. There were three or four players that didn't play today."

West Bromwich Albion striker Salomon Rondon, available for £16.5million, is one of Benitez's summer's targets.

Dwight Gayle. (Pic: Stephen Dobson)

Dwight Gayle. (Pic: Stephen Dobson)

And a swap deal which would see Gayle move to The Hawthorns has been mooted.

Asked about speculation over Gayle's future, Benitez said: "It's a time for rumours, so we just have to keep doing our job. Hopefully, we can do what we have to do to improve the team."

Gayle, signed from Crystal Palace two years ago, spoke about his future after playing in the club's first pre-season friendly against St Patrick's Athletic.

"I'm loving it here," said Gayle. "For the time being, if the gaffer’s happy with me, I’m happy at to stay."

Dwight Gayle.

Dwight Gayle.