By Noel Whelan

3rd Mar, 2020 | 2:44pm

Exclusive: Ex-striker reacts to Newcastle reported training HQ fall-out

Noel Whelan has questioned the decision to bench Allan Saint-Maximin as Newcastle United shared a goalless draw with Burnley this weekend. 

The former Leeds United forward, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, felt sorry for Dwight Gayle having to play in a team with little creativity on his return to the starting eleven.

The 29-year-old failed to score on his first start at St. James Park since 2018 on what was ultimately a frustrating afternoon on Tyneside.

Allan Saint-Maximin started the game on the bench and according to a report in the Daily Mail, it was because of a fallout with Steve Bruce, rather than the injury the manager had implied.

It added that Bruce has been less than impressed with the attacker’s performances in training.

When asked whether the former Crystal Palace striker did enough to keep his spot in the side, Whelan told Football Insider: “The thing is he has not scored and I do not know where the goals are going to come from for Newcastle.

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“Ritchie was their most dangerous player. A team that has spent a lot of money on attacking players – Almiron, Saint-Maximin sitting on the bench. For me, he is their most dangerous player. A few strange decisions from Bruce.

“Goals win you football matches and I do not know where they are going to come from.

“Dwight Gayle has hardly played any football so to expect him to come in and start banging goals in it is not going to happen. You also need people that are going to create chances for him.”  

Gayle spent last season on loan at West Brom where he scored 24 goals in 41 appearances before returning to his parent club.

The draw left the Magpies 14th in the table, 5 points above the relegation zone and 18th placed Bournemouth.

In other Newcastle United news, Alex Bruce has told Football Insider which youngster his dad ‘loves’ at St. James Park.