Steve Bruce has a huge problem on his hands after Newcastle United striker Dwight Gayle blew a chance to prove his doubters wrong against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
Bruce had hoped to see Wilson make his return coming out of the international break after almost two months in the treatment room, though is refusing to rush the £20m summer signing back onto the pitch.
The Magpies boss will surely have preferred to have had Wilson on the field last Sunday as his side salvaged a 2-2 draw with Tottenham, after seeing Gayle fluff his lines in front of Hugo Lloris’ net.
Gayle made a good run off the shoulder of Davinson Sanchez and forced a strong, leaping save from Lloris with his header and was alert to the rebound, only to hit his second attempt tamely into the French shot-stopper.
His two spurned chances to break the deadlock saw Gayle register half of Newcastle’s total of four big chances missed inside the opening 20 minutes, and would only go on to fashion one further shot all game, per SofaScore.
Gayle’s last of four attempts, which came on the hour mark, was also deemed as off-target, and he would only remain on the field for a further 10 minutes before being replaced by Allan Saint-Maximin.
The 31-year-old – who Rob Lee claims is a “brilliant” striker – is now without a goal in any of his last 13 appearances across all competitions, having struck his only successful strike to date with a match-winning header at home to West Bromwich Albion on December 12.
Gayle’s start at home to Tottenham on Sunday and the two big chances to break the deadlock marked a glaring missed opportunity to prove his doubters wrong, having been effectively dubbed by many supporters as a Championship-level striker recently.
Fans have been critical of Gayle and his talents after reports emerged that he is due to be given a new three-year contract to avoid leaving Tyneside as a free agent this summer, which Bruce has confirmed is close to being finalised.
Bruce now has a huge problem on his hands with Newcastle set to tie Gayle down long-term, and question marks again arising over his potential to fire the Magpies to Premier League safety.