Noel Whelan is “shocked” and “bewildered” to hear Newcastle United have handed Dwight Gayle a new contract.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Leeds United striker said it is “really strange” for a new deal to be handed out while there is much uncertainty around the club.

The Athletic‘s David Ornstein revealed on Monday that Gayle, 31, had agreed a three-year contract extension, which will keep him at St. James’ Park until the summer of 2024.

The centre-forward has reportedly been offered fresh terms despite having only started two Premier League games this season.

Whelan cannot believe Gayle has been handed out a new contract with relegation looming.

“I’m shocked to hear he’s been given a new deal, because I do not think Steve Bruce will be there until the end of the year,” he told Football Insider.

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“He has done an average job. He started off OK but they have completely tailed off.

“Newcastle are deep in a relegation battle so to hand out contracts now, when everything is up in the air, I find that pretty bewildering.

“It is not as if he has been given much game time. How can you hand out a three-year contract to a player who has barely played, under a manager who might not be there?

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“They might need that money to sign better players in the summer. It is really strange.

“Have they given him a new deal with one eye on the Championship? Come on, another manager might not want him.”

In other news, several Newcastle United players are seething with Miguel Almiron following his comments on a Paraguayan radio show.