By Emma Sanders
Rafa Benitez has claimed he has a string of selection quandaries in the wake of Dwight Gayle’s matchwinning display for Newcastle against Leeds on Sunday.
The 26-year-old scored both of the Magpies’ goals to consolidate their position at the top of the Championship table in an impressive 2-0 win against Garry Monk’s side.
Benitez insisted there were a number of players who have impressed this season though and admitted it is difficult to select his starting XI as he identified four selection quandaries.
Gayle was selected ahead of Aleksandar Mitrovic, who has been in-form for Newcastle so far this season but Benitez was rewarded for his decision.
“It’s not just the goals, it’s the movement he [Gayle] gives to the team,” said Benitez, as reported by BBC Sport.
“But it’s not easy for me. It’s not just Gayle and Mitrovic – there’s Mo Diame-Ayoze Perez, DeAndre Yedlin-Vurnon Anita, Issac Hayden-Jack Colback.
“We have so many players that when they play, they do so well and it’s difficult to decide.”
Gayle has now scored 13 goals in 13 league appearances for Newcastle this season and his brace on Sunday afternoon was his fifth and sixth goal in just four league games.
The Magpies are now five points ahead of second-place Brighton at the top of the table and it was their ninth victory in a row against Leeds.
Newcastle host Blackburn next Saturday and will be looking to record their 12th successive game without a loss against the struggling, relegation-battling side.
In other Newcastle news, Leeds manager Monk gave this verdict of the game between the two sides.