'I guarantee it' - Exclusive: Bent makes Dwight Gayle claim ahead of Newcastle v Sheff Utd
Darren Bent insists he saw enough from Newcastle United striker Dwight Gayle against Southampton to keep him in the starting XI ahead of Joelinton.
The former Tottenham and Aston Villa star, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, admits the 29-year-old passed up some golden opportunities but says it was due to a lack of match sharpness.
Gayle started his second successive Premier League game at St Mary’s, Joelinton dropping to the bench in place of Allan Saint-Maximin.
However, he was unable to net his first goal of the season, Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy keeping him at bay with a number of fine saves.
Bent insists that Gayle has proven himself in the past and suggests that if he starts again against Sheffield United, he will find the back of the net.
“People can’t really have doubts about him as a finisher because he’s always scored goals,” Bent told Football Insider.
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“I think he’s a very good finisher and he scores a lot of goals. You look at the chances that he’s got, he should be burying them. For someone of his quality as a finisher, he’s got to be burying them.
“I think that comes from a lack of games. When you’ve not been playing as many games, you’re in and out the squad, your timing goes and I think that was a classic case of that.
“I guarantee it, if he plays again this week and gets those chances, he’ll take them.”
Asked if Steve Bruce saw enough to keep Gayle in the side over Joelinton, Bent said: “I think they created more than enough chances to win the game quite comfortably.
“I don’t think he did anything wrong to come out the game so I’d stick with him, I would.”
In other Newcastle United news, Michael Brown says he has spotted the coaches giving one player special attention.