Dwight Gayle raised a few eyebrows when he opted to drop down a division to join relegated Newcastle United last summer.
The striker left Premier League side Crystal Palace as he completed a reported £10m switch to St. James' Park following the Magpies' demotion to the Championship, but Gayle is reaping the rewards of doing so by plundering a whole boat load of goals as Newcastle look for an immediate return to England's top flight.
So impressive has Gayle's form been, in fact, that the 26-year-old's haul of 21 strikes in just 28 league games is his best goals-to-games ratio ever during a single Football League campaign, according to Opta.
21 – Dwight Gayle has scored 21 league goals in 2016/17; his best return in a single season in the Football League. Recognition. #EFLAwards— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 27, 2017
The ex-Eagles forward had previously notched his best haul of 20 goals in 47 appearances during the 2012/13 campaign when, at 20 years of age, Gayle plied his trade at League Two outfit Dagenham & Redbridge in the first half of that term before spending the second half of that campaign on loan at Championship team Peterborough United.
Admittedly, Gayle's only season outside of the Premier League, 2016/17 aside, was during the 2012/13 campaign, so it isn't too difficult to expect Gayle to plunder more league goals this time around given the experience and knowledge he has acquired during the five years he has spent outside of the Football League.
Newcastle's reliance on Gayle has been vital to their promotion push too. The striker has bagged 30% of the Magpies' 70 league goals this season - form that has helped fire the North East side to the top of the standings - and some of his strikes have been crucial in helping Newcastle earn all three points in tricky encounter such as the 2-0 away win at Leeds, the 4-3 triumph at home over Norwich and the slender 1-0 victory over Bristol City.
Gayle's impressive goalscoring displays even led him to being shortlisted for the Football League's Championship Player of the Season award alongside Leeds; Chris Woods and Brighton's Anthony Knockaert. If he wins, it'll be a just reward for the marksman's eye for goal and deadly finishing.
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